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The contrast between fear and awe in receiving Holy Communion.

26 May 2010

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There is a connection between the Eucharist and theosis–the process of becoming united with God by becoming like God. In Eastern Orthodox Churches, the priest’s call for people to advance to the Mystical Supper and receive the Holy Eucharist is this: “With the awe of God, faith, and love, draw near…” However, most English translations use the word “fear” rather than “awe”…

Established Patristic usage of the Greek word phobos (fear) also meant respect, honor, and reverence….The word fear contradicts not only the original meaning of the compulsory directive to come forth to the Holy Chalice with amazement and reverence, but also of Holy Scripture: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love” (1Jn 4;18).

The Flesh and Blood of Jesus Christ are not punishments whatsoever, but are the awe-inspiring, therapeutic, god-making holy gifts of recompense for all–all, not one forsaken, none passed over by the Paschal Lamb.

“Take, eat, this is my Body…Drink it, all of you, this is my Blood”.

Again, this is an obligatory command, not an elective, not an option, not multiple choice. To become “god-like” via the Holy Eucharist is nonnegotiable. Its mystery of deification is unconditional. The mind need not comprehend this Holy Sacrament; the heart must be receptive for love is the attracting force of nature between God and humanity; and the flesh must simply recieve God.

Please note Jesus is quoted as saying “This is…” He does not say “This is similar to…” or “This is an analogy of…”, or “This is kind of like…”His words are clear. Is means is. Obvious, to the point, and not ambiguous. Hence, it is the most awesome Mystery of Life: God and God’s people in communion. God’s people becoming “god-like” as they were first created to be. As God promises: “I said, you are gods”(Jn 10:34).

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