Mystical Energy from God: “Be Attentive”
The Eucharist host of the eastern rite is shown above the chalice. The host is square compared to a round host in the Latin Roman Catholic rite.
Mystical energy starts with the Eucharist. The Eastern Church believes the mystical life is all around us, and asks us to “be attentive” to God’s word. During Divine Liturgy the religious and faithful say “Be Attentive”a prayer phrase repeated many times cumulating with the Eucharist.
On each Holy Eucharist the prosphoron or loaf of altar bread, has “IC XC NIKA” is stamped.
The IC XC means “Jesus Christ”. The abbreviation is from both Greek and Slavonic languages.
NIKA means “conquers”. It is a Greek verb, closely related to “is victorious”.
The Eucharist According to Saints and Monks
“As we receive the Holy Eucharist, we are invited to share in his victory, we receive the victory into our bodies and souls, and we become victors, conquerors, insofar as we do the will of Him who loved us and gave Himself for us.”
“Do you not believe that you too are a conqueror? St Paul takes us even further: We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37). – Abbot Joseph, Mt. Tabor Monastery
The victory that we celebrate is that of Jesus Christ over the world, the flesh, and the devil, over sin and death. For Him to conquer evil was essential to his mission, so much so that St John could even say: “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1John 3:8). – Abbot Joseph, Mt. Tabor Monastery
Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton were among the Roman Catholics who loved the Eastern Byzantine liturgy.
St. Gregory of Nyssa is one of the great contributors to the mystical tradition in Christian spirituality and monasticism. The word became incarnate “so that by becoming as we are, he might make us as he is”, said Gregory of Nyssa.
St. John Chrysostom prayer, “Receive me today, Son of God, as a partaker of your mystical Supper.”
“It is Gods body that deifies and nourishes me; it deifies the spirit & nourishes the mind mystically.” – St. John Chrysostom
St. Irene Chrysovalantou was granted the gift of clairvoyance. She knew thoughts of all she saw. St. Irene kept the feast of St. Basil especially holy because they both came from Cappadocia.
On one particular Divine Liturgy, Irene had a vision of countless radiant angelic beings entering the church: some with stringed instruments, singing beautiful hymns to God. Among these beings was a particularly majestic man, a face radiant like the sun, who was treated with devotion. He approached the altar and, taking the shroud offered to him by the other beings, covered the fragrant smelling altar.
The angel who stood by the altar, with great sadness, cried out to the majestic one, “Until when, O Lord?” to which a voice replied, “Until the second Solomon, when the heights will be united with the depths and all will be one. Then the Lord will be exalted and the memory of Irene will be glorified.” Irene took this as confirmation of her teaching that no one, whether herself or another of the sisters, could be glorified until they achieved the Kingdom in death.
To define God’s love is to limit it. It must remain unlimited, boundless, indefinable, unexplainable. The explainable has only limited value and transient interest.
Prayer is the elevation of the intelligence to God, not in order to learn about God but to discover God; not to know about Him but to know Him, to experience God in one’s own life.”
– From Introduction to the Byzantine Rite by Archbishop Joseph Raya.
Dave Small said:
As always, a very informative post. Thanks.
Appreciate your comments.