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Immortal Medicine.

In the Eucharist, the baptized person receives Christ Who, in His Body and Blood, gives Himself entirely, not just as man, but also as God, since "in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead.." ( Colossians2:9)

Dr. Jean Claude Larchet

Though it is Christ's Body that the faithful receives as food, it is His whole Being (body, soul, and spirit) that they assimilate. Christ's Body spreads to all the bodily members of the communicant and also to all the faculties of the soul, mingling intimately with them. Thus the communicant becomes a "Christ-Bearer", for through communion there is an indwelling of Christ in the Christian and of the Christian in Christ: "He who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood abides in Me, and I in him." John 6:56 By this sacrament, notes St. Gregory of Nyssa, God infused Himself into perishable humanity for this purpose, namely that by this communion with Deity mankind might at the same time be deified.

But even before that stage is reached, this spiritual food nourishes, purifies, sustains, fortifies, strengthens, and protects both body and soul against all evil.

Though absorbed by the body and bringing into play its digestive functions, it is nonetheless very different from ordinary food, and it is in quite another way that, for the recipient, it is a source of life. As St. Nicholas Cabasilas explains,

Man lives because of food, but not in the same way in this sacred rite. Since natural food is not itself living it does not of itself infuse life into us... but the Bread of Life is Himself living, and through Him those to who He imparts Himself truly live. While natural food is changed into him who feeds on it is entirely opposite. The Bread of Life Himself changes him who feeds on Him and transforms and assimilates him into Himself.

Although, in Baptism and Communion, Christians receive from God the fullness of grace, they must nonetheless assimilate it personally, must grow in it and through it. For this, their own collaboration is required, and it is in leading a spiritual life that this synergy between the strength given by God and their own efforts must be put into practice.

+ Glory to God for All Things +

Dr. Jean-Claude Larchet is one of the most notable living philosophers and authors on Orthodox Christian Patristics.

He holds a Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Nancy and a Ph.D. in theology from the University of Strasbourg. A teacher of philosophy for nearly thirty-five years, he is an author of over thirty books and countless articles whose work has been translated into seventeen languages. His magnum opus, Therapy of Spiritual Illness, and several other works have been translated into English to wide acclaim.


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