Thursday, March 27, 2008

Our Life in One Day...

Dear Parish Faithful,

With about fifty parishioners present yesterday evening, we had a wonderful and lively celebration of the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts. (We also had about twenty parishioners present for the morning Liturgy on March 25 for the Annunciation). Almost by definition, liturgy means shared experience, and that is a most appropriate description of this particular service. The entire day for each person individually - at work, school or home - is a time of fasting, preparation and expectation for the communion with Christ that will "seal" this day through receiving the presanctified Gifts in the early evening. In such a manner this day is a microcosm of our entire earthly existence, which is one of preparation for, and expectation of, the Kingdom of God. Thus, we come together for our "common action" - the action of the People of God - which is the meaning of the Greek word leitourgia. We assemble in order to partake of the common cup, the very "cup of salvation," as a unified Body. The personal experience of the day then becomes a shared experience of worship and communion. By receiving the Body of Christ, we become the Body of Christ, members united to Christ and to each other. What other day can fulfill one's expectations as this one of the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts?! We then further shared an excellent lenten meal together following the service. "O, taste and see that the Lord is good!"


Great Lent: The Eighteenth Day

From St. John Cassian (+c. 430)
The thief on the cross certainly did not receive
the Kingdom of Heaven as a reward for his virtues
but as a grace and mercy from God.
He can serve as an authentic witness
that our salvation is given to us
only by God's mercy and grace.
All the holy masters knew this
and unanimously taught that perfection in holiness
can be achieved in humility.
Fr. Steven

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