Sunday, May 10, 2009

Advice on the Eucharist

In the four Books of De Imitatio Christi by Thomas a'Kempis, one is dedicated to Holy Communion. It should be read by all. Here is an interesting excerpt:

Any devout person may at any hour on any day receive Christ in spiritual communion profitably and without hindrance. Yet on certain days and times appointed he ought to receive with affectionate reverence the Body of his Redeemer in this Sacrament, seeking the praise and honor of God rather than his own consolation.

For as often as he devoutly calls to mind the mystery and passion of the Incarnate Christ, and is inflamed with love for Him, he communicates mystically and is invisibly refreshed.

Be neither too slow nor too fast in celebrating but follow the good custom common to those among whom you are. You ought not to cause others inconvenience or trouble, but observe the accepted rule as laid down by superiors, and look to the benefit of others rather than to your own devotion or inclination.

What I like about this is the focus on partaking for the honour of God and with consideration of the customs of the parish. One should not be mindful solely about his own spiritual blessing in partaking and in the frequency thereof.


Andy Kiser said...

Dear Fr. Beckman, please read Dr. James E. Talmage's excellent work The Great Apostasy. The "Book of Homilies" dates from about the middle of the 16th century, and makes reference to the fact that the religious world had been utterly apostate for eight centuries prior to the establishment of The Church of England. I am a former member of The Protestant Episcopal church. Background-degrees in comparative religion and army chaplaincy. I would enjoy hearing from you.

Rev. Beckmann said...

Thanks for the reference, Andy. I'll have to check it out. I will say, however, that I do not believe that the Faith was completely lost for hundreds of years. God has always maintained his remnant. No matter what the official church positions may have been, there have always been orthodox believers out there - even if they stand "against the rest of the world".
Another issue: all human writings are fallible, including this comment and the Homilies. Though there are errors in a'Kempis, there is more good solid, biblical spirituality in Thomas a'Kempis than there is in a stack of modern Protestant works (of course, it depends on what's in the stack!).