Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Father Alexander Schmemann on the meaning of communion

But then the first and essential fruit of all Christian life and spirituality, so manifest in the Saints, is the feeling and the awareness not of any "worthiness," but of un-worthiness.  The closer one is to God the more conscious he becomes of the ontological unworthiness of all creatures before God, of the totally free gift of God.  Such genuine spirituality is absolutely incompatible with any idea of "merit," of anything that could make us, in itself and by itself, "worthy" of that gift.  For, as St. Paul writes: "...while we were yet helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  Why one will hardly die for a righteous man . . . .  But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us . . ."  (Rom. 5:6-8).  To "measure" that gift with our merits and worthiness is the beginning of that spiritual pride which is the very essence of sin.

-- from "Great Lent:  Journey to Pascha"

2 comments:

Dixie said...

Excellent!

David Garner said...

As you might imagine, I've been reading this book for Lent (I've moved on to "The Lenten Spring" by Father Hopko, but I'm now wishing I'd read them side-by-side since Father Hopko's work follows the season and we're now halfway through and I'm catching up)!

As I ran across paragraphs that struck me, I posted them here. This one was just awesome.