The Shepherd, September 2004

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FROM THE FATHERS

“BE EAGER for more frequent gatherings for thanksgiving (Eucharist) to God and for His glory. For when you meet frequently the forces of Satan are annulled and his destructive power is cancelled in the concord of your faith.”

Holy Hieromartyr Ignatius the God-bearer of Antioch, + c 115 A.D.

“THE WORD HIMSELF gave commandment to His people that they should make oblations, although He needed none, that they might learn to serve God. For that reason He wishes us to offer our gifts at the altar continually, without ceasing.”

Holy Hieromartyr Irenæus of Lyons, + c 200 A.D.

“IT IS NO TEMPORAL FEAST that we come to, but an eternal, heavenly feast. We do not display it in shadows; we approach it in reality. The Jews had their fill of the flesh of a dumb lamb, and when their feast was finished they anointed their door-posts with the blood to beg for aid against the destroyer. But the Food that we partake of is the Father’s Word. We have the lintels of our heart sealed with the Blood of the new covenant; and we acknowledge the grace bestowed upon us by our Saviour.”

Saint Athanasius the Great of Alexandria, + 373 A.D.

“SOME PERSONS SAY: ‘Look, we fulfil the commandment of the Lord, for we commune two or three times a year, and this is enough to justify us.’ We reply that this is good and beneficial, but to commune more often is much better. For the more one approaches the light, the more one is illumined; and the more one approaches fire, the more one is warmed; the more one approaches holiness, the more one is sanctified; similarly, the more one approaches God through Communion, the more one is enlightened, warmed and sanctified. My brother, if you are worthy to commune two or three times a year, you are worthy to commune more often, as the divine Chrysostom says, provided you keep the same preparation and worthiness. What, then, hinders us from communing more often? Our negligence, our indolence, overcome by which we do not prepare ourselves as much as possible for Communion.”

--Saint Macarius of Corinth, + 1805 A.D.

“THE BODY AND BLOOD of Jesus Christ is the visible shekinah (the visible holy of holies - see Leviticus 2:3), bequeathed and left to us by Jesus Christ Himself for our sanctification. Who would not wish to be a partaker of such holiness and be sanctified?And so, do not be too lazy to approach the cup of life, immortality, love and holiness. But approach with fear of God and faith.”

--Saint Innocent of Alaska, + 1879 A.D.

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