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Filling of the Faithful

[Col. 2:1-7; Luke 9:12-18] The miraculous filling of the multitude in the desert is an image of the fill­ ing of the faithful in holy commu­ nion with the Most Pure Body and Most Pure Blood of the Lord. The Lord is sitting apart; the multitude is made to sit in groups; the apostles are intermediaries — they receive the bread and give it out. So it is now: believers are all divided into groups — small individual churches in which the Lord, invisibly present, gives out His Body and Blood through the apostolic successors. As He did to the apostles then, so now to their successors does He say, Give ye them to eat. As then, so now do the believing multitudes stand steadfastly before the Lord in fast­ ing, hearing the word, and a prayer­ ful desire be healed from sins as they prepare to approach the Divine Mysteries. Thus the mystery begun by the Lord’s appearance continues until now and will continue until the end of the world. And in the world to come there will be a com­ munion of its own sort, for the Lord promises to give to eat of the hidden manna and of the tree of life (Rev. 2:7,17). Our forefathers’ own mysti­ cal communion was also arranged in the earthly paradise — eating from the tree of life. In the Old Tes­ tament Church its image is the eat­ ing of the paschal lamb. Thus, mys­ tical communion began with the hu­ man race, was and will be with it until eternal ages, in various forms, but in the one meaning of the most true communion with the Lord; for In Him was life; and the life was the light of men (John 1:4). It is fitting for those who are created according to the image of God to be in such communion with Him, Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person (Heb. 1:3)

Saint Theophan the Recluse

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