YOUR OWN OF YOUR OWN

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

     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.

 

     Who are “we,” and what is it that “we” are “offering” (προσφέρομεν)? By saying “we,” we mean first and foremost Christ Himself, in our midst, in the midst of the Church. He offers Himself, by the hands and gifts 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 and our prayers (our “sacrifice of praise”) 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, Lord, for that! “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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