“Eat the Living Bread, Drink With Faith the Blood Shed From My Divine Side At My Death”

From Compline for Wednesday of Holy Week:

Eating, O Master, with your disciples, you have mystically revealed your holy end, whereby we who honor your sacred Passion are delivered from corruption….

He who wrote the tables of the Law on Sinai, himself fulfilled the ordinance of the Law. He ate the old Passover which was but a shadow, and he became the new Passover, a mystical and living Sacrifice.

Revealing in a mystery the wisdom hidden from all ages, O Christ our Savior, You have disclosed it at the Supper to all your apostles: and, inspired of God, they delivered it to the Churches.

“One of you shall betray me by guile this night and sell me to the Hebrews,” Christ cried aloud to his friends, filling them with dismay; and then they turned one to another in doubt.

He who is rich made himself lowly for our sakes: rising from the Supper, he took a towel and girded himself, and bowing down he washed the feet of the disciples and the traitor.

Who would not be struck with wonder at the height of your knowledge, which no mind can understand nor tongue describe? You, the Creator of all, have drawn near to your creatures of clay, and washed their feet and dried them with a towel.

The disciple whom the Lord loved, lying on his breast, said to him: “Who is he that shall betray you?” And Christ answered, “It is he who dips his hand now in the dish.”

The disciple received the sop, yet was parted from the Bread; scheming how to sell him, he ran to the Jews and said to the transgressors: “What will you give me if I deliver him to you?”…

Sitting at supper with your companions, O Lord who loves mankind, you have revealed to them the great mystery of your incarnation, saying, “Eat the living Bread, drink with faith the Blood shed from my divine side at my death.”

The upper room wherein Christ kept the Passover was revealed as a heavenly tabernacle; the supper without shedding of blood is our reasonable worship; the table on which the Mysteries were celebrated there is our spiritual altar.

Christ is our great and honored Passover, eaten as bread and slain as a Lamb. He has been offered as a sacrifice for us, and mystically we all receive with reverence his Body and his Blood.

Having blessed the bread, O heavenly Bread, you have offered thanks to your Father, and taking the cup you have given it to your disciples, saying, “Take, eat, this is my Body and the Blood of Life incorruptible.”

Christ the true Vine spoke to his branches, the apostles saying: “Amen. I will not drink henceforth from the vine until I drink it new with you my heirs in the glory of my Father.”

For thirty pieces of silver do you sell him who is above all price; and do you not think, wicked Judas, of the mystery of the Supper and the holy washing of the feet? O how have you fallen utterly from the light, embracing with love the hangman’s noose!

The hands in which you have taken the Bread of incorruption, you have stretched out to take the money; and with the mouth in which you have received the Body and Blood of Christ, you have given a kiss deceitfully. But woe to you, as Christ has said.

Christ, the divine and heavenly Bread, gives food to all the world. Come, then, O lovers of Christ, and in our mouths of clay but with pure hearts let us receive in faith the Passover that is sacrificed and offered in our midst.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Let us glorify the Father, let us exalt the Son, and with faith let us worship the divine Spirit, undivided Trinity and Unity in Essence. Let us adore Light and Lights, Life and Lives, giving life and light to the ends of the earth.

Both now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

From: The Lenten Triodion,  pp. 544-546, using modernized English.

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