The Mystery of Holy Communion –
Holy Communion celebrated in the Divine Liturgy is the main Sacrament of the Orthodox Church. In the Divine Liturgy we are closer to Jesus than at any other times in our lives. Holy Communion is a personal meeting with Christ. This is where we meet him and invite Him into our hearts. When we take Holy Communion we actually come into contact with Jesus’ Body and Blood. Joining together in Holy Communion is what makes us a Parish or Community in Christ.
Preparing for Communion-
A Christian should be properly prepared to receive Communion. We can’t forget the sanctity and gravity of coming before Christ. It’s important that we fast, not only by watching what goes into our mouths, but also what comes out. All Christians should fast on Wednesdays because of Jesus’ betrayal and on Friday because of His death. Along with the seasonal Fasts, there is also a special fast for Holy Communion: no food following the evening meal, nothing to drink after midnight and nothing in the morning. If extenuating circumstances exist, they should be discussed with one’s Spiritual Father. There are also prayers that should be recited prior to receiving. These can be found in most Orthodox Prayer Books and in the Liturgy Books found in our pews. Confession is also an integral part of preparing for Holy Communion. We can’t embrace one Sacrament and ignore the others. All aspects of the Church work together to bring us closer to Christ.
How often should we receive Communion-
t has recently become the norm to receive Holy Communion only three or four times a year, if that often. Frequent Communion is the only means by which a believer can renew his inner life and remain oriented toward the experience of being with the Lord as our lives change every day. St. Basil and the Canons of our Church make it clear that a Christian should be prepared to receive every time Communion is offered, unless there are extenuating circumtances to be worked out with one’s Spiritual Father. We must remember that we’re never truly worthy to receive, it’s a gift we must be ready to receive.