YOUR OWN OF YOUR OWN, WE OFFER

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Priest (quietly): “Remembering, therefore, this saving commandment and all that has been done for our sake: the Cross, the tomb, the Resurrection on the third day, the Ascension into heaven, the enthronement at the right hand, and the second and glorious coming again…” (Aloud): “Your own of Your own (Τὰ σὰ ἐκ τῶν σῶν, Твоя от Твоих) we offer to You, in all and for all.” (Eucharistic Prayer, Byzantine Divine Liturgy)

 

We “offer” to God what is God’s at Divine Liturgy, by 1. Remembering “this saving commandment” (that is, “Take, eat, this is My Body…,” and “Drink of this, all of you…,” proclaimed by the priest just before the above-quoted words), and 2. Remembering “all that has been done for our sake,” including, surprisingly, the future “second and glorious coming again.” In faith, the Church “sees” as God “sees,” beyond space and time, particularly in His intimate presence to us, and our presence to Him, in the Divine Liturgy.

 

How and what is it that “we” are “offering” (προσφέρομεν)? First of all, by saying “we,” we mean first and foremost Christ Himself, in our midst. He offers Himself, by the hands and gifts (of bread and wine) of the celebrating Church. Because He is “the One Who both offers and is offered” (ὁ προσφέρων καὶ προσφερόμενος, as it says in the Prayer of the Cherubic Hymn). We also “offer” ourselves, in response to Christ’s Self-offering, whenever we bring ourselves wholeheartedly, with all our strengths and weaknesses, into communion with Him; to be “consecrated” in and by Him. That’s why the priest will also pray (shortly after the above-quoted words), that the Holy Spirit be sent down “upon us, and upon the gifts here presented.” So – when we proclaim that we “offer” to God what is God’s, “Your own of Your own,” we also mean ourselves. He receives us, along with our gifts, and then returns us and our gifts back to us, consecrated and transfigured in the Holy Spirit. Thank You for that, O Lord. “It is proper and right to worship the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Trinity One in being and undivided.” Amen!

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