Saturday, 15 May 2021

To All Bishops and Priests About Communion for Manifest Sinners From St. John Chrysostom

My Name Saint has some strong words which many of our 'shepherds' need to heed! I'm glad Fr Zed found this and posted it.

From Fr Z's Blog

My emphases:

“I speak not only to the communicant, but also I say to the priest who ministers the Sacrament: Distribute this gift with much care. There is no small punishment for you, if being conscious of any wickedness in any man, you allow him to partake of the banquet of the table: ‘Shall I not now require his blood at your hand?’ (2 Sam. 4:11). If some public figure, or some wealthy person who is unworthy, presents himself to receive Holy Communion, forbid him. The authority that you have is greater than his. Consider if your task were to guard a clean spring of water for a flock, and you saw a sheep approach with mire on its mouth–you would not allow it to stoop down and pollute the stream. You are now entrusted with a spring, not of water, but of blood and of spirit. If you see someone having sin in his heart (which is far more grievous than earth and mire), coming to receive the Eucharist, are you not concerned? Do you try to prevent him? What excuse can you have, if you do not?

“God has honored you with the dignity of priesthood, that you might discern these things. This is not to say that you should go about clothed in a white and shining vestment; but this is your office; this, your safety; this your whole crown.

“You ask how you should know which individual is unworthy to receive? I am speaking here not of some unknown sinner, but of a notorious one.

[This part was left out of the translation I originally posted:

Shall I say something more fearful. It is not so grievous a thing for the energumens [demon possessed] to be within, as for such as these, whom Paul affirms to trample Christ under foot, and to account the blood of the covenant unclean, and to do despite to the grace of the Spirit. For he that has fallen into sin and draws near, is worse than one possessed with a devil. For they, because they are possessed are not punished, but those, when they draw near unworthily, are delivered over to undying punishment. Let us not therefore drive away these only, but all without exception, whomsoever we may see coming unworthily.

Let no one communicate who is not of the disciples. Let no Judas receive, lest he suffer the fate of Judas. This multitude also is Christ’s body. Take heed, therefore, you that ministerest at the mysteries, lest you provoke the Lord, not purging this body. Give not a sword instead of meat.

…]

If someone who is not a disciple, through ignorance, comes to Communion, do not be afraid to forbid him. Fear God, not man. If you fear man, you will be scorned and laughed at even by him; but if you fear God, you will be an object of respect even to men. But if you cannot do it, bring that sinner to me, for I will not allow anyone to dare do these things. I would give up my life rather than give the Lord’s Blood to the unworthy.

“If, however, a sinful person receives Communion, and you did not know his character, you are not to blame, however. I say the things above concerning only those who sin openly. For if we amend these, God will speedily reveal to us the unknown also; but if we let these flagrant abuses continue, how can we expect Him to make manifest those that are hidden? I say these things, not to repel sinners or cut them off, but I say it in order that we may bring them to repentance, and bring them back, so that we may take care of them. For thus we shall both please God and lead many to receive worthily. And for our own diligence, and  for our care for others, we will receive a great reward. May we attain that reward by the grace and love that God gives to man through Our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory, world without end. Amen.”

St. John Chrysostom, Sermon 82.6

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