Communion of the Body and Blood of the Lord is the culmination of the Eucharistic Banquet.[Communion] transforms into itself those who worthily partake of it, making them similar to that good which is [their] source by means of grace and participation. They lack nothing of this good that is possible and can be attained by human beings. Therefore, they also are and can be called gods by adoption through grace because all of God entirely fills them and leaves no part of them empty of his presence. Through Holy Communion we achieve a divine likeness: we receive Christ into our lives, and Christ makes us partakers of the divine nature.
- The Divine Liturgy – the Foundation and Summit of the Christian Community’s Life
- The Holy Mystery of Repentance
- The “Our Father”
As Christ offered the apostles his Body and Blood at the Mystical Sup-per, so the priest communicates the faithful who piously, with hands crossed on their breast, approach the ambo before the Royal Doors. The words of the Prayer before Communion, “Accept me this day, O Son of God, as a partaker of your mystical Supper,” explain the essence of the Lord’s Banquet, and of the entire Liturgy. Saint John Chrysostom teaches: “Believe, therefore, that even now it is that supper, at which he himself sat down. For this is in no respect different from that. For neither does man make this and himself the other; but both this and that is his own work.”
Through communion in the Body and Blood of Christ, our life is fully in God
Consuming the Holy Gifts, we communicate in the Body and Blood of Christ: “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them” (Jn 6:56). We become similar to Christ and acquire a divine way of thinking: as God granted himself to us, so we, in fully giving ourselves to God and to others, have life eternal. Through communion in the Body and Blood of Christ, our life is fully in God: “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20).
Thanksgiving for Communion and the Dismissal
After Holy Communion, the deacon invites the faithful to render thanks to the Lord for the Gifts received: “Stand aright! Having received … the life-giving … Mysteries of Christ, let us rightly give thanks to the Lord.” Just as the apostles did on the day of Pentecost, so the faithful carry this gift of new life into the world. “In peace” the Church of Christ began her prayer, by his peace—his blessing—she was enriched, and with his peace she goes out into the world: “Let us go forth in peace.” This is what she asks of the Father, the Source of “every perfect gift” as she leaves the church building: “Grant peace to your world, to your Churches, to our priests, to our nation under God, to our government, and to all your people.”
Christ sends us into the world so that through us he may act in the world
The Divine Liturgy today has ended, but it continues in the everyday life of the faithful as their service in the world, as “the liturgy after the Liturgy.” The reality of the coming age, which was just experienced liturgically, spreads to the whole world and transfigures it. “Christ our true God, risen from the dead … will have mercy and save us.” Renewed in him, Christ sends us into the world so that through us he may act in the world. In its final “Amen” the liturgical community expresses its anticipation of the perfect fulfilment of God’s kingdom.