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Piety: Expressing Our Devotion to God

by Susan Eapen, Bangalore

By Piety here, I mean the expression of one's devotion to God.

We, Orthodox Christians consider the Eucharistic Celebration as the Zenith of our worship.

I understand that the color, the pageantry, the music and the drama are all there as we, the worshipers are human and sensate. The Eucharistic celebration involves all our senses, and the whole man. When we bring the work of our hands as offerings at the Eucharist, we offer ourselves too-the whole of our selves.

Henry Nouven said that Mother Teresa believed that unless one can see Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, one cannot see Him in the poor.

In my weak understanding, I often wonder. What we mean when we say that the Eucharistic celebration is the ultimate worship? Is it an end in itself? Is " Seeing the Qurbana" enough or is it not? What constitutes " seeing"?

I understand that the Qurbana is a bringing forward in time of the actual events, a partaking of His Life (Blood/Wine) and His Presence (Body/Bread) so that the Christ-life in us is enhanced..

I understand from the various writings that where the Son is, the Father and the Holy Spirit are. So in Baptism, we have received Him in us and in the Sacrament of Eucharist, Jesus becomes food for us and drink for us and fans to greater brightness the embers of Divine Life in us.

This is pure faith based on my will, supported by intellectual awareness.

Is the Eucharistic Celebration an end in itself? Or is it meant for us as a passport to heaven?

From the lives of the Saints, I believe that as the Priest says , the Eucharist is food for the journey-food to be light and salt.

Now I understand what Mother Teresa and Nouwen said. The Eucharist is meant to make us like Jesus-and what is He but the Eucharistic Life? (The Descending Way?) When we offer ourselves, the work of our hands, what else could we mean?

We, who are partaking the Eucharist every Sunday, are expected to show the fruits of the Spirit- Love- in our lives - Have the strength to be gentle (compassionate) and the courage to be kind (forgiving) so that the Peace of Christ goes with us. We obey the commandment of Jesus to Love others. We awake to the common humanity of all. Then, Jesus promised, I will come and live with you. If what I understand is the Truth, then this is the only answer to all the problems in the Church- the needless fights and the pseudo heroics.

This is the best way to show our devotion- the best piety to obey His commandments.

What do you think?

Source: ICON Forum

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