How to Prepare for the Holy Eucharist To all those who partake of the Body and Blood of Christ when they participate in the Divine Liturgy
As Orthodox Christians, we are called to the Chalice each and every time that we celebrate the Divine Liturgy; however, it is most essential that we prepare ourselves to receive the Lord, so that we will not approach unworthily and risk experiencing the "consuming," rather than the "purifying" fire of the Eucharist.
With this in mind, the following guidelines will help us in our preparation:
+++ No excessive partying or socializing on Saturday evening ... we should keep ourselves in a quiet and prayerful atmosphere, reading the gospels and epistles of the New Testament and praying the "Prayers of Preparation" before Communion (these latter prayers can also be done on Sunday morning if there is time);
+++ Maintain a prayerful atmosphere on Sunday morning ... (difficult with children, yes, but not impossible ... try it!);
+++ No consumption of food or drink past a reasonable bedtime the night before (Midnight is preferred) ... this includes no smoking and no chewing gum on Sunday morning as well;
+++ If you need medicine in the morning, please take it ... if you are supposed to eat or drink something with it, then do so as moderately as possible;
+++ As always, we should partake of the Sacrament of Confession at least 2-4 times a year if we are taking Communion frequently (hint: use the 4 fasting periods of the liturgical year ... Advent, Great Lent, Apostles' Fast and Dormition Fast) ... if we are not frequent communicants (3-4 times per month), then Confession is necessary each time we come for Communion;
+++ At the very least, attend the Sunday cycle of prayer ... Saturday evening Vespers, Sunday morning Matins (morning prayers) and Sunday Divine Liturgy ... if we attend Sunday morning Liturgy irregularly (e.g. missing more than once a month), then we should not be taking Communion each time we attend, unless we have had Confession in the recent days prior;
+++ Be on time to the Divine Services and be at peace with all people ... if we arrive at Church after the Little Entrance with the Gospel, we should not receive Communion on that day ... it is truly a sign of disrespect when we enter the services late and/or when we leave the Liturgy early (before the Dismissal) ... and ... our Lord tells us that we cannot love God and hate our brother ... for whoever is "angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment;"(Matthew 5:22) ... and ...
+++ Fellowship Hour is not to be started until after the Liturgy is completed!
Please strive to practice these Spiritual Disciplines.
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