II. The Role of the Laity
During the dark days of the pandemic, many of us were deprived of Divine Liturgy on Sunday and the Sacraments. Now that we have moved out of this darkness into light, let each of us make a new commitment to coming to church on Sunday and confessing our sins regularly, to returning to the sacraments, to returning fully to the house of the Lord.
Participating in Divine Liturgy on Sundays and Holy Days, and confessing our sins regularly, is essential for the health of the soul and for salvation.
When we cannot participate in Divine Liturgy in person or confess our sins regularly, we miss out on the grace we need to fully live and endure in our faith.
Why we need to confess our sins
When we do not confess our sins regularly, we miss out on receiving the cleansing grace of the mystery of penance, which prepares us for the worthy reception of the Eucharist and for our daily battle against temptation and sin.
St. Paul speaks of putting on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:11 RSV-CE). The mystery of penance is an essential part of our armor. Without the grace we receive when we are sorry for our sins and confess them to a priest, we cannot enter the battle with a critical weapon in our daily struggle to endure and grow in the faith.
Our worthy reception of the Eucharist is even more important. When we do not partake of “the precious, most holy and most pure Body and Blood or our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ,” we do no receive the armor we need “for the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting.”
Why we need the Eucharist
When we do not take the Lord’s Body and Blood into our own bodies, we lose a moment in our life when, with the grace of God, we build up our own bodies into a temple for the indwelling God.
Unlike other Christians and those of other religions, our faith requires belief that ordinary bread and wine are transformed into the precious and holy Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is in the reception of the Eucharist that we are strengthened and sanctified so that we can become more like the Lord each day.
There is another reason why attending Divine Liturgy in person is so important. Life as a Christian is not just personal, it is communal. The Lord raised the Church and built it on the rock of Peter for our sanctification. He also built the Church as a means for us to become one with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.