Communion alternative during COVID-19

Discussion in 'Sacraments and Holy Orders' started by Lowly Layman, Mar 13, 2020.

  1. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Friends,
    If like me, you find yourself in an area where your church will be closed for the next several Sundays, you may want to avail yourself to Spiritual Communion. Here is a service from the Armed Forces Prayer Book (1951):

    http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/1928/AFPB_Spir_Communion.htm

    SPIRITUAL COMMUNION

    If on any Sunday or other Day of Obligation (see Tables and Rules for the Movable and Immovable Feasts in the front part of the Prayer Book), you are prevented from making your Communion, make an act of Spiritual Communion, after the following manner:

    Kneel down, and say:

    In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.

    Then read the Collect for the day, the Epistle, and the Holy Gospel.

    Rise and say the Nicene Creed.

    I believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And of all things visible and invisible:
    And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God; Begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of very God; Begotten, not made; Being of one substance with the Father; By whom all things were made: Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man: And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered was buried: And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures: And ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of the Father: And he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end.
    And I believe in the Holy Ghost, The Lord, and Giver of Life, Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spake by the Prophets: And I believe one Catholic and Apostolic Church: I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins: And I look for the Resurrection of the dead: And the Life of the world to come. Amen.

    Kneel and read the Confession

    Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men; We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, Against Thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly Thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, And are heartily sorry for these our misdoings: The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ's sake, Forgive us all that is past; And grant that we may ever hereafter Serve and please Thee In newness of life, To the honour and glory of Thy Name; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

    Then say:

    The Almighty and merciful Lord, grant me pardon and absolution of all my sins. Amen.

    Read the Comfortable Words, Preface. and Sanctus.

    Hear what comfortable words our Saviour Christ saith unto all who truly turn to Him.
    Come unto Me, all ye that travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you. St. Matt. xi. 28.
    So God loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, to the end that all that believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. St. John iii. 16.

    Hear also what Saint Paul saith.
    This is a true saying, and worthy of all men to be received, That Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. 1 Tim. i. 15.

    Hear also what Saint John saith.
    If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous; and He is the Propitiation for our sins. 1 St. John ii. 1, 2.

    Therefore with Angels and Archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Thy glorious Name; evermore praising Thee, and saying,
    HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, Lord God of hosts, Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory: Glory be to Thee, O Lord Most High. Amen.

    Then say:

    In union, O Lord with the faithful at every altar of Thy Church, where the Holy Eucharist is now being celebrated, I desire to offer Thee praise and thanksgiving. I present to Thee my soul and body with the earnest wish that may always be united to Thee. And since I can not now receive Thee sacramentally, I beseech Thee to come spiritually into my heart. I unite myself to Thee, and embrace Thee with all the affections of my soul. Let nothing ever separate Thee from me. May I live and die in Thy love. Amen.

    Spend a few moments in meditation upon the fact that God so loved you that He sent His Only-Begotten Son into the world for you. Recite the Lord's Prayer and afterward say:

    May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with me always. Amen.
    -----------------------------------
    God bless and stay safe!
     
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  2. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Isn't this entirely what the Eucharist symblically symbolizes anyway? The sacraments surely are symbolic of exactly this gratitude for our spiritual redemption won for us by Christ 'before the foundation of the world' and revealed to us in time on the cross of pain and shame.
     
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  3. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Yes, but the sacrament doesn't just symbolize, it actually is communion in the body and blood of Christ (see 1 Cor 10:16). Therefore it is a seal and confirmation of God's grace toward us wherein Christ's presence is imparted
     
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  4. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Thanks, excellent rite, much appreciated. Our priest is communicating in the host only, not the blood this Sunday.
     
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  5. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    But surely NOTHING can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ, not even failing to partake of the blessed sacraments in either kind, bread or wine.
    .
     
  6. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    This thread sparks a question in my mind. Why couldn't anyone receive the sacrament of the spiritual food of the most precious body and blood of Jesus, right in their own home? If a believer were to ask our Lord to make the bread and wine into His body and blood for him, and were to believe that God was doing it, wouldn't it be so? The reason I ask is:
    unlike in the RCC where it is believed that the bread and wine become the physical flesh, blood, divinity, and fullness of Christ and further believed that only the priest can act in personam Christi to effectuate this transubstantiation,
    we in the Anglican Church believe that Christ's real Presence in the Eucharist is by His Spirit, and we further believe that the priest is not working a transubstantiation but rather a consecration. Since God has made His followers into kings and priests (Rev. 1:6) and temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19), may we not consecrate bread and wine for our own Eucharist at home in the absence of an ordained priest?
     
  7. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    It is a scriptural truth that nothing can seperate us from the love of God, just as St. Paul taught. But what about the grace of Christ's inner presence? Our Lord said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you." And even moreso, "He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him." Why would anyone willingly turn their back on so great a gift if they could receive it? He wants to give us more than His love. He wants to give us Himself. Not just in a purely spiritual sense, but fully in a way that infuses us body and soul.
     
  8. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    We understand that God has left and established his jewish priesthood to convey grace to his chosen people Israel. Whereas manna was his peculiar and immediate grace (some say the eucharist itself falling down from heaven), in the ordinary course he elected to convey his grace through his old testament church: the levites (deacons), priests (priests), and high priests (bishops).

    With the coming of the 2nd Person of the Trinity, the Church was reconstituted, but also left to continue its intended function, namely to convey God's grace and spread the gospel. Thus it performs the sacrament of baptism/circumcision, conveys the manna/eucharist to the people (who are now the whole world), etc.

    Because all this is God's institution, he has the full liberty to convey his grace through any methods he wishes; but that is his prerogative, and he has not informed us of those other methods. All we know about those methods is that, whatever they are, he has the full sovereignty of the world.

    What he has told us is what he has set down for us to receive his grace. He makes us born in the sacrament of Baptism/Circumcision of the heart, and thereupon giving us the holy ghost in Confirmation. He gives us his Body in the sacrament of manna/eucharist. Etc.

    The channels of the church are the only things we may rely on to hold God accountable to us. If we do not undergo baptism but still hope to be engrafted into his body, then we are not promised success; we have to throw ourselves at God's feet, whereas if we undergo Baptism and own it ourselves, then we are promised success. It would not be possible to undergo Baptism and own it, and still remain unregenerate. He has left us sure and confident ways in which we may bind God to us, and force him to never let us go. Those who forego those confident ways are in the wilderness, in great disarray, dismay, crisis, and doubt. They may still have a chance but -- who knows.
     
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  9. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Active Member

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    The Body and Blood can't get you sick. Perhaps germs from the Chalice might but the actual body and blood can't. Either way because of medicine I only take in the body.
     
  10. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Active Member

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    I should say that I don't believe in transubstantiation but I don't believe that one of the sacrements can make you sick. They only heal.
     
  11. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    We have a Great High Priest, Jesus Christ the Righteous. It is he who consecrates every sacrament, He is the only intermediary.

    Also though, think on this.

    If the prayer and presence of the priest is a necessity in order for the sacrament to be valid then at what distance does the sacrament become ineffective and unconsecrated. Three feet from the priest? Ten feet from the priest? Priest standing at the chancel steps saying the prayer of consecration with the elements on the altar? Priest standing at end of the nave west end and shouting the prayer of consecration with elements on the altar. Priest in a broadcasting studio and cup, wine and bread on our sideboard at home, with us listening on a radio? Everyone can still hear, still believe the words of consecration, still commemorate the atoning sacrifice once made for all by Christ our Redeemer and Lord? Final step: We read the prayer of consecration from the scripture ourselves, at home, believe it and receive the sacrament, giving thanks to Christ and pledging ourselves to his continued service.

    The question then is; just exactly what is it that makes a Eucharist 'valid' and 'efficatious', for those who truly believe in Christ's atonement and personal presence through the communion of The Holy Spirit?

    Sacraments are a concession to us sinners by God to compensate for our Spiritual disabilities and lack of faith in God's intangible Grace. Had we sufficient FAITH we would have no need for sacraments at all. Jesus Christ never needed them.
    .
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2020
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  12. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm. Those are some interesting thoughts, Stalwart. Here are my comments, and please bear with me as I intend neither disrespect nor malice.

    Are you certain? When Jesus died, God supernaturally ripped the temple veil separating the holy of holies from the rest; didn't this signify that the Jewish priesthood's time of ministry was ended? Hebrews 9:1-10:12 says that the priests' ministry of covering sins with the blood of sacrificed animals for the people of Israel is no longer efficacious. The straight and narrow way of grace is now through Jesus Christ, and the old way appears to have turned left down a dead-end alley.

    Although Jesus likened Himself to the manna and showed that it was a prophetic type of Himself, that manna in the wilderness was quite literally the food they needed for physical survival. It showed (demonstrated and was a sign of) God's love and grace toward them, but I would hesitate to call the manna itself "immediate grace." And I think that anyone who claims the manna was "the eucharist itself" goes much too far and grossly distorts Jesus' metaphorical intent (John 6); whereas we Christians are cautioned against regarding the eucharist as food for the stomach, manna was literally and directly meant to be food for the stomach!

    Let's unpack all of this. We know that the bulk of Christ's first (earliest in time) followers were Jewish; this is because it took a little while for Paul and some of the others to get the Gospel out to the Gentiles. So it is natural to expect that Jewish followers of Jesus would be accustomed to the Jewish ways, including the priesthood, the temple, and the synagogues. They would be accustomed to having their sabbath "God times" led by men in robes (who were descendants of Aaron, by the way, and born into the role... so whether they believed well in God or not, it was their career path). Yet none of these descendants of Aaron did any Eucharistic consecrations; their job involved leading worship and the reading of Scripture, receiving and sacrificing animals and making grain offerings, and offering a temporary covering for the people's sins, so it was rather different from that of a N.T. priest (leading worship and reading of Scripture... and wearing robes... ;) are about the only overlaps).

    I completely agree that God "has the full liberty to convey his grace through any methods he wishes," but He has indeed informed us (and we can see in a large number of N.T. passages) that His grace is conveyed through faith in the redemptive sacrifice made by Jesus on our behalf, and that besides trusting in Him there is no thing we can do to supplement the efficacy of that sacrifice. He has "informed us of no other methods" than the foregoing; baptism and communion, although important and highly relevant to the Christian, cannot in and of themselves save anyone. While the Church's function involves communicating and spreading the Gospel (of Jesus Christ's redemptive act for us and of grace through faith alone) to the lost as well as teaching and supporting and reinforcing the faith in believers, it seems important to not lose sight of the basic and necessary fact that we are the Church. We, followers of Christ, are the "living stones" built upon the Cornerstone of our Savior. The Church of the living God is not a structure with an altar, nor is it the priest serving at that altar (although he is one stone among us all, who has submitted himself to serve us all).

    The building containing the altar is not sacred. The altar is not sacred. The priest is not sacred. The liturgy is not sacred. God is sacred. The building, the altar, the priest, the liturgy, and the Sacraments are meant to serve God's purposes and to guide people with either beginning or continuing in faith in Him. The Roman church fell into the error of elevating the priest, the altar, and faith in the Roman liturgy to the point where their adherents considered them to be sacred (or at least bordering on it), and in the process they lost sight of their purpose; essentially they glorified the Roman church (which they erroneously called "the faith") and de-emphasized the really necessary truth of faith in Christ alone. I would hate to see Anglicanism trend (or even drift slightly) in that direction.

    Your entire proposition appears to rest upon regarding the N.T. Church as a revised-version continuation of the O.T. temple/priest/sacrificial system. But in the O.T., the temple actually was sacred because there the Spirit of God resided, and there only the high priest could enter into His Presence (and that only once per year). In the O.T. system, priests were carrying out the bloody sacrifices of slitting animals' throats, sprinkling their blood, and waving offerings toward God. We don't really have any N.T. mandate or confirmation that the N.T. Church is a continuation of this system or that any of the methodology prescribed by God for its functions are supposed to carry over to the N.T. Church. Instead, what we have is the Book of Hebrews, which suggests that the old way is dead and useless now. And we have a bunch of traditions instituted by the earliest believers due to their Jewish background and customs; this doesn't necessarily make the way they did things in the early church the right way or the only way, it could just mean this was the way they felt most habitually comfortable in doing things.

    So if we are the true Church, if the Holy Spirit lives in each of us and enables us, and if the priest is one from among us who has undertaken to serve us but possesses no special power to confect, and furthermore if Jesus meant for all of us (His followers) to "do this (eucharist) in memory of" Him, doesn't an insistence that only the priest can consecrate eucharistic elements tend to elevate him to a level of sacredness above the sacredness of every other "temple of the living God" (i.e., any Christian believer)?

    Oh. My. Lord. I cannot believe I am reading this. Are you sure your account has not been hacked by one of the furthest-off-the-beam Word of Faith preachers? :loopy: The idea that we can "hold God accountable to us" and "force Him" to do anything sounds like something that goes even beyond the ideas espoused by Kenneth E. Hagin in, "How to Write Your Own Ticket with God." Okay, okay... I know you couldn't have meant it to come out that way. :blush: But still, I have to say that undergoing Baptism and Confirmation and even receiving Eucharist every Sunday doesn't "promise success," because a person without faith for salvation can do all those things and can fool himself and those around him, but he can't fool God. If observing Sacraments were a guarantee of eternal life, then I should return to the Roman church because they cornered the market on that sort of thinking a long time ago!

    Well, let me sum up. Stalwart, please don't take any offense :tiphat: over my picking apart what you wrote and sifting through the bits and pieces. (Most impertinent of me, I know.) :facepalm: What it boils down for me is that if there is a rationale for saying that a lay Christian 'cannot' consecrate his own eucharist (is not capable of doing so in God's eyes), then it has to be a better one than 'this is how things were done in the O.T. times and it continues to be done the same way today.' On the other hand, though, I can fully appreciate that a lay Anglican is not permitted :bishop: by his church to consecrate a eucharist under any circumstances; but this does not really address the issue of whether God will not permit it to take place (i.e., that Christ's Real Presence will not enter the elements) should a lay person make the attempt for some reason (such as church closure or unavailability).
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2020
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  13. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Tiffy, you raised a good and interesting point about listening to a service on media or somehow connecting to a service where the eucharist is being consecrated. On the one hand, God is not bounded or hemmed in by distance. On the other hand, the priest in that distant place certainly does not consciously intend for the consecration to extend beyond certain physical bounds (such as the elements on the altar at that time); and I recall reading about some priest who got into trouble for adding unconsecrated wine when they ran short during the service (which again implies physical boundaries to the consecration, at least as that consecration is officially recognized by the Anglican Communion; what God thought of it was not directly addressed). :rolleyes:
     
  14. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Fact: According to scripture, under both Old and New Covenants, although the New Testament 'church' and the Old Testament 'church' are one and the same 'church', (only its entry qualifications have changed), the New Testament Priesthood is definitely not a continuation of the Old Testament Priesthood, either in function or in actuality.

    The New Testament priesthood is not Aaronic. Its High Priest is not a descendant of Aaaron. The High Priest of the New Order is of the house of David, the tribe of Judah, and the Order of Melchizedek, no connection whatever to Aaron. The Aaronic priesthood still exists on earth, but not functioning, in or as, the Christian Church.

    The New Testament priestly function is also different in that it is no longer mediatory. The New Testament priest does not mediate between believers and God any longer. We have but one Advocate and Mediator, Jesus Christ the righteous, and HE was the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 2:1-2. 1 Timothy 2:5, 1 John 4:10.
    .
     
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  15. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Surely the priest merely intones the words of the consecration prayer and God does the consecrating, so where does any intention of the celebrant come into the validity of the consecration itself. Faith comes through hearing, Rom.10:17, so believers hearing the words of the priest surely must validate the Eucharist, not any subjective intention of the man behind the altar.
    .
     
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  16. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Well, the priest believes that God is consecrating just the elements on the altar, and he has no faith for any other elements elsewhere to be consecrated... and as he believes, so it is done? But I suppose he could be mistaken about what God is consecrating..... :hmm:.... where other people's faith comes into play.
     
  17. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    But according to Article 26, what the priest 'believes' is irrelavant. It's the words he says and what the receiving believer believes that matters.

    We are however getting into discussion of mysteries to which we lack sufficient information to be certain about. What we can be certain of, according to scripture, is that the sacrament of Holy Communion is an aid to believing we are saved by Christ, not exclusively the means by which belief in that salvation is obtained. It is Christ's atonement, once and for all, which brought salvation to the human race, not the commemoration or celebration of it in the Eucharist.

    And before anyone accuses me of denegating or downgrading the efficacy and importance of The Eucharist, I believe it is Graciously provided for us by God as a sacramental means of grace. i.e an aid to saving faith. However, in addition, we should call Christ's atonement to mind whenever we share bread and wine, not only at religious gatherings presided over by a worthy person from a christian community, important as scripture implies such gatherings may be.
    .
     
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  18. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    That's not what it says. It just says that the effect of Christ's ordinance is not taken away by the priest's wickedness. It very much matters what the priest thinks he is doing during the Rite of consecration, for without the correct intent, he will not consecrate the bread into the Body.



    No disagreement with you there. I don't think that the New Testament church has a direct succession from the Old Testament church. This is why I said it had to be reconstituted. All I meant was that the New Testament church was reconstituted to do essentially what the Old Testament church was intended to do (whether it did it faithfully or not is another question). The reason they were instituted the same thing was because they were both products of the same God, who always had the same unwavering intention, and thus the Church in all eras was always meant to perform his intended function. That's the basic answer to the question of why we need the visible Sacraments: they are the way God has established for us to receive grace.

    While it is possible for God to dispense it in other ways, we have no reliable and sure ways of establishing and confirming that, which is why relying on those other ways is an unreliable and doubtful foundation, whereas relying on the visible sacraments is a source of our assurance.

    This is why in the Rite of Holy Communion, after receiving the sacrament, we have these words:

     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2020
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  19. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Regarding the minister's intent and Article 26's implications, John H. Rodgers Th.D. writes on page 480 of his book, "Essential Truths for Christians," the following:
    ...The answer cannot be found in trying to penetrate into the inner mind of the clergy....The answer is found in taking seriously the action itself. When the sacrament is administered by a proper minister, in accordance with the Scriptures, using the rite of the Church, which rite expresses the Church's intention, that action by the clergy constitutes an adequate expression of the public intention of the clergy and of the intentionality of the sacrament...​
    Rodgers suggests that we shouldn't focus on exactly what the individual minister intended, but rather on the "public" (the Church's) intention concerning the sacrament and also on "the intentionality of the sacrament," which I think is another way of saying, "what Jesus intended and intends the sacrament to be." To me, that seems like good advice. Especially the part about Jesus' intentions.
     
  20. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Are you so confident then that a pedophile priest, a wolf in sheeps clothing or a Borger style cleric, can 'think aright' what he is doing during the prayer of consecration?

    The rest of his life might seem to indicate otherwise, in fact would indicate that he seriously has problems 'knowing or admitting what he is doing or thinking'.

    It is fortunate for us that the sacraments are valid through the intention of Christ and their validity have nothing to do with the intentions of the priest, worthy, reverant and pious as they fortunately, almost invariably are. (And any exceptions to that observation of mine have absolutely nothing whatever to do with irrelavancies such as the priest's gender).

    These words merely convey to the receiver that due sense of all God's mercies, that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful for the once and for all sacrifice of Christ which it symbolically and sacramentally represents.

    If you or I never again were permitted to 'partake of those holy mysteries', our salvation would not be affected one jot or tittle. Our life is hid with Christ in God, Col.3:3. not in the elements we receive from the paten or the cup.
    .
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2020

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