“Do this in memory of me; for as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim my death and confess my Resurrection.”
In Christ, human nature partakes of the divine nature (see 2 Pt 1:4). Christ grants to everyone who believes in him communion in divine life. Christ accomplished this mystery of Communion at the Mystical Supper, manifested it in his Paschal Mystery, and continues to actualize it in the Divine Services of the Church “now and for ever and ever.”
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The summit of the Church’s liturgical life is the Divine Liturgy (from the Greek leitourgia, meaning a common work). It is the service of God to his people and of God’s people to him. In the Divine Liturgy the Father leads us into the fullness of his life by giving us his Son. The Son then gives himself to us as nourishment, in the banquet of the Word, and in the banquet of the Body and Blood. He does so in order that we might become one body and blood with him and partake of his Divinity. Receiving Christ’s gift in the Holy Spirit, the Church responds to him by offering herself. She does so in order that he might live and act in her as in his Body. And so, Christ, the head of the Church, together with the Church, which is his Body, brings to the Father in the Holy Spirit praise and thanksgiving for the salvation that has already been accomplished.
The Divine Liturgy consists of (a) the Proskomide (from the Greek, meaning offering) or Prothesis (from the Greek, meaning setting forth), that is, the preparation of the gifts; (b) the Liturgy of the Word; and (c) the Liturgy of the Eucharist. In the Divine Liturgy the mystery of sal-vation is accomplished. This salvation is the bringing together of God and humankind in Christ (see Eph 1:10), the “building up of the body of Christ” (Eph 4:12). Just as at the Mystical Supper [Last Supper] Christ first taught the apostles by his word and then led them into the mystery of his Body and Blood, so in the Divine Liturgy Christ teaches the community of the faithful, nourishes it by his Word, and then makes its members partakers of the Eucharistic banquet. The Christian enters into this mystery through listening to the Word of God and partaking of the Lord’s Body and Blood.
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