The first thing I would say about the Eucharist comes from the sermon I herd yesterday while on a youth conference, we have to allow communion to consume us...
Thanks Phoebe, but I'm really more interested in the people who DON'T receive the Eucharist--or participate in the Mysteries at all--and yet live holy, godly lives. If, as you say, the idea of the Mysteries is to conform us into the likeness of Christ, then how can it be that non-Orthodox could be more Christ-like, more humble, more fervent in the Faith, than Orthodox Christians. One would expect that, if the Mysteries were effective, Orthodox Christians, who have not only the Mysteries, but also the "fullness of the faith, and the beautiful, heavenly worship, volumes of prayers and hymns, lives of the saints, etc, would be shining examples of godliness and Christian love, humility, patience, and self-sacrifice. They are not. If the Mysteries and Liturgy were really effective, wouldn't Orthodox Christians be immediately recognized for their holiness? Wouldn't they stand out from among members of the other thousands of Christian denominations that don't believe in the Liturgy and Mysteries? They do not. Orthodox Christians are largely indistinguishable from other non-sacramental Christians, except in their (our) apparent commitment to remaining unknown, and a non-entity in the American cultural landscape.
What I think Andreas is refering too is rather the Person's willingness to let go of the struggle, as our Lord asked the Paralised man if he wished to be healed. For if we are unwilling to let God work he cannot (for he will never violate our free will), it can also take time to assimilate the reality of the utter freedom we are given in baptism. Although the Lord acted strate away it can take time for us to assimilate that, and when the post baptismal grace wains such problems can come back, we have to humble ourselves but also claim the grace of the mysteries allowing the Holy Spirit to live within us to and transform us.
When the paralyzed man said he wanted to be healed, Christ healed him instantly. Same with the man possessed by a legion of demons, and the blind man, the other blind men, the man with the withered hand, the woman with a hemorrhage, the leper, the other leper, the ten lepers, etc...
You get the point.
My godson said he wanted to be healed. He denounced the devil and spit. He was "exorcised." He was was lowered three times in the water. And still he is not healed. Is he better off now than he was before his baptism? Apparently not.
So really, what good did all that do?
Andreas, what sort of "deficiency in the baptism" do the Fathers refer to?
Edited by Algernon, 03 June 2014 - 01:27 AM.