The Holiness We Receive

August 25, 2009 § 2 Comments

“…(the Priest says) The holy things are for the holy…(the people say) One is Holy, one is Lord, Jesus Christ to the glory of God the Father, amen…” (The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom; emphasis mine).

The faithful are called saints because of the holy thing of which they partake, because of him whose body and blood they receive. Members of his body, flesh of his flesh, bone of his bone, as long as we remain united to him and preserve our connection with him, we live by holiness, drawing into ourselves through the holy mysteries the sanctity which comes from the that Head and that Heart.  But if we should cut ourselves off, if we should separate ourselves from the unity of this most holy Body, we partake of the holy mysteries in vain, for life cannot flow into dead and amputated limbs” (Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ, 27; emphasis mine).

And the holiness of the Church is not our holiness, but Christ’s…Likewise, the holiness of the saints as well is but a revelation and realization of that sanctification, that holiness that each of us received on the day of baptism and in which we are called to increase.  But we could not grow in it if we did not already possess it as a gift of God, as his presence in us through the Holy Spirit” (Alexander Schmemann, The Eucharist, 23-25; emphasis mine).

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§ 2 Responses to The Holiness We Receive

  • We need to live a holy life as much as possible.

    One important way we can do this is by fasting, by asking God to forgive our sins, and by receiving Holy Communion several times each month.

  • jpschock says:

    Hi George. I agree, my point in the quotes was to illustrate that as we attempt to live holy lives (by doing the things you point out) we do so only out of a holiness that we already have received by grace, as Fr. Schmemann says so nicely. In short, we don’t produce our own holiness.

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