St. John Maximovitch of San Francisco
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
“He that eateth My Flesh and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him,” said the Lord (John 6:56).
Uniting with the Risen Lord and through Him with the entire eternal Trinity, man draws from It power for eternal life and himself becomes immortal. “As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me even he shall live by Me” (John 6:57)…. How very important communion of the Holy Mysteries is we see from the life of St. Onuphrius the Great to whom, as well as to other hermits dwelling in the same desert, angels brought Holy Communion; and in the life of St. Mary of Egypt we read that her final wish, after many years of desert life, was the reception of the Holy Mysteries. The lives of St. Sabbatius of Solovki and a multitude of others tell us similar things. Not in vain did the Lord speak and say: “Amen, amen, I say unto you, except ye eat the Flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His Blood, ye have no life in you” (John 6:23).
The more one is found to be under the influence of the grace of Communion and the more tightly one has united himself to Christ, the more one will find pleasure in communion with Christ and in His coming Kingdom.
Therefore, it is important to partake of the Mysteries of Christ just before death, when the lot of a man is determined forever. It is necessary to try to receive just before death, if there be even the smallest possibility of this, to beseech the Lord to find us worthy of this, and to take thought for others, so that they may not be deprived of Communion before the end…He who unites himself in spirit and in body with Christ in this life will be with him in spirit and in body in the life to come. The grace-filled streams of the life-creating Mysteries of the Body and Blood of Christ are the well-spring of our eternal joy in converse with the risen Christ and in the contemplation of His glory.
From the Sermons of Saint John.The Church as the Body of Christ.
Troparion to St. John of San Francisco , Tone 5
Thy care for thy flock in its sojourn has prefigured the supplications which thou didst ever offer up for the whole world. Thus do we believe, having come to know thy love, 0 holy hierarch and wonder-worker John. Wholly sanctified by God through the ministry of the all-pure Mysteries, and thyself strengthened thereby, thou didst hasten unto suffering, 0 most gladsome healer — hasten now also to the aid of us who honor thee with all our heart