From Saint Petroc Monastery, Fr. Michael
Today, we pray in the last Collects that God would quicken our understanding that we may believe in the eternal life that He has given us. That is, that our understanding of this gift may be enlivened. The whole purpose of Christ was our life - our eternal life. Life in this sense exclusively means life with God. Beyond that there is only death, which is the meaning of what happens to those who deliberately turn away from God, who persistently until the end deny God, and deny the eternal life.
Any one of us may turn from such disbelief and claim our place with God, but to do so, we must achieve that belief in God and in His gift to us.
From such unbelief, we turn first of all, by confession, for in confession before His Church and the whole company of Heaven and to Him, we acknowledge our denial of Christ, of God and of His great gift to mankind and all that we have done in offence resulting from that unbelief.
Confession, for the Believer is no mere statement of belief, but a full, personal statement of our failings throughout our life. Confession is an unburdening and at the same time a turning away from our former selves and a turning towards and embracing of the path to union with God, the eternal gift that He has made possible for us.
Eternal life and the possibility of union with God, union with the energies of God, unity with His will, perfect alignment with God, complete harmony. That is the possibility that is held out to us. That is what Christ made possible and what God makes available.
Some grasped the possibilities very early on and the reality was expounded by the Fathers of the Church as we, mankind struggled to come to grips with this astounding gift.
This is vastly more than merely “going to church” of a Sunday. This is being unable to stay away from that lifting up of our hearts to God and following Christ’s specific commandment. “Do this in remembrance of Me”. This is not a whimsical test to see if we could follow such a commandment. It was the prescription of communion with Him, the nearest that we can approach on this earth in the normal course of events. Normal course of events? - the Divine Liturgy is a cosmic event every time - it is an intimate participation in the most profound event of all history and beyond time. We ought to let nothing stand between us and our participation in this event-beyond-time, in this time of communion.