Preparing for Communion for Beginners
One of the most important sacraments in Orthodoxy is the Communion of the Body and Blood of Christ. This is the moment when a believer unites with the Son of God. However, you should know how the preparation for the sacrament takes place, especially for those who for the first time decided to accept it (for example, you need to confess, pray, etc.). This is necessary so that the right attitude appears, the awareness of the future unity with Christ.
Preparing for confession and communion is not a one-day procedure, so you need to know exactly what to do and when. This is what the article will be about.
What is the Sacrament of Communion?
Before deciding where the preparation for the communion begins (for beginners this is especially important), you should know what the sacrament is. For the first time, he was accepted by Christ and commanded to repeat this to his followers. The first communion happened at the Last Supper on the eve of his crucifixion.
Before the sacrament, worship is obligatory, which is called the Divine Liturgy, or the Eucharist, which is translated from the Greek as "thanksgiving."It is this act that Christ committed in the distant past before he communed his disciples.
Thus, preparation for the sacrament should include memories of these distant ancient events. All this allows you to tune in the right way, which will undoubtedly lead to a deeper acceptance of the Sacrament.
How often do you need to receive communion?
The preparation for the sacrament (especially for those who do it infrequently or for the first time) should include the concept of how many times it is possible to participate in this sacrament. Here you should know that this action is voluntary, so you should not force yourself to this in any way. The main thing is to come to communion with a pure and light heart, when you want to join the Mystery of Christ. Those who are in any doubt, it is better to consult with the priest.
It is recommended to proceed with the sacrament if you are ready for it internally. The Christian who lives with faith in God can perform this sacrament in every liturgy. If there are still doubts in your heart, but you believe in God and are on this path, then you can take communion once a week or a month.In extreme cases, during each major post. However, all this should be regular.
It should also be noted that, according to ancient sources, communion was desirable to be performed daily, but well and four times a week (Sunday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday). Those who are just on the path of Christian faith should know that there is one day in the year - Maundy Thursday (before Easter), when communion is simply necessary, it is a tribute to the ancient tradition, from which everything began. About her is written in the article above.
Some clerics believe that frequent communion is unacceptable. However, it should immediately be said that, according to canonical laws, they are wrong. Here you need to look into a person very deeply and see how much he really needs this action. In addition, the sacrament should not be mechanical. Therefore, if it is performed frequently, then the layman must constantly keep himself in good shape, be ready to accept the Gifts. This may not all, so what is described in this article about the preparation, should occur regularly. Constant prayers, confession and observance of all posts. A priest should know about all this, since such a life cannot really be hidden.
Prayer Rule Before Communion
So, now let's look more specifically at all points that need to be considered before preparing for the sacrament. First of all, it should be noted that home prayer in front of the Sacrament is very important. In the Orthodox Prayer Book there is a special follow-up, which is read before communion. This is preparation for the sacrament. The prayers that are read before this, not only home but also ecclesiastical, are also included in the preparation for the Sacrament. It is imperative to attend a worship service immediately before the Sacrament, but in general it is advisable to do this every day.
In addition, it is recommended to read the three canons and the Akathist before accepting the Gifts of Christ. However, this is considered a tradition, but not a duty. These include:
- the prayer canon of the Mother of God;
- penitential canon to Jesus Christ;
- canon guardian angel.
Thus, conscious preparation for communion and confession, prayers from the heart can help the believer to feel the importance of the Sacrament and to prepare spiritually for this miracle.
Observance of fasting before communion
It is equally important to observe the fasting before communion. This is a prerequisite.After all, the Holy Communion, the preparation for which must take place consciously, is a very important ceremony, and it should not be mechanical, otherwise there will be no benefit from it.
So, for those believers who regularly observe multi-day and one-day fasting, only the so-called liturgical fasting is supposed. Its meaning is to not eat and drink from twelve o'clock at night before accepting the Sacrament. This post continues in the morning (i.e. the sacrament takes place on an empty stomach).
For those parishioners who do not observe any fasting, as well as those who have just joined Orthodoxy, the priest can establish a seven-day or three-day fast before communion. All such nuances should be coordinated additionally in the church and not be afraid to ask about them.
How to behave, what thoughts to avoid before the sacrament
When the preparation for the sacrament begins, you should realize your sins in full. But besides this, so that they do not become more, you need to refrain from various entertainment, for example, visits to the theater, watching TV. Spouses must give up bodily communication the day before the communion and on the day of its adoption.
Special attention should be paid to your mood, behavior and thoughts. Be careful not to condemn anyone, discard obscene and evil thoughts. Do not give in to bad mood, irritation. Leisure time should be spent in solitude, indulging in reading spiritual books or prayer (as far as possible).
It should be noted that the most important thing for accepting the Holy Gifts of Christ is repentance. A person must sincerely repent of his deeds. It is on this and need to focus your attention. Fasting, prayer, reading the scriptures - these are just the means to achieve this state. And this must be remembered.
How to prepare for confession
The confession before communion is very important. Ask this request to the priest of the church where you are going to receive the Sacrament. Preparing for communion and confession is a special attitude aimed at correcting one’s sins, one’s bad behavior and impure thoughts, as well as tracking everything that contradicts and violates the commandments of the Lord. All that was found and consciously, and should confess. But remember about sincerity, do not turn the conversation with the priest simply into a formal listing of sins on the list.
So, why is such a serious preparation for confession and communion necessary? Their sins should be realized in advance in order to know what to tell the priest. It often happens that a believer comes, but does not know what to say, where to start. You also need to tune in to the fact that the priest is only a guide, the Mystery of Repentance remains with him and the Lord. Therefore, do not feel embarrassed when talking about your sins. It is necessary to cleanse and continue life freely.
Confession before Communion: Awareness of Sins
So, the preparation for confession and communion is over. But the hardest is still to come. When you come to confession, open your heart without waiting for the questions of the priest. Tell all that is stumbling upon your soul. It is better to perform this action in the evening, on the eve of the liturgy, although it would not be a mistake to do so in the morning before it.
If you are going to receive communion for the first time, then it is better to confess the day before. This is necessary so that the priest has time to listen to you. If you want to confess in the morning, then choose a day when there are few people. For example, on Sunday in the church there are a lot of parishioners, so the priest will not be able to listen to you in detail.After the confession of sins, one should adhere to the correct path and strive not to commit them with all our forces in the future, otherwise what was washed away in this spiritual conversation?
Communion Day. What to do?
On the day of the sacrament you need to follow some rules. As mentioned above, the temple must go on an empty stomach. If you smoke, you need to refrain from cigarettes until you accept the Gifts of Christ. In the church, when the moment of their adoption comes, you need to get closer to the altar, but skip ahead the children if they came, as they are partaking of the first.
It is not necessary to be baptized near the Bowl, you should only make a bow beforehand, with arms crossed over your chest. Before you accept the gifts, you need to pronounce your Christian name, and then immediately eat them.
What should be done after a person has taken communion?
The rules of preparation for the sacrament also include knowing what to do after the Sacrament is complete. Kiss the edge of the Bowl and go to the table with prosphoras to eat a piece. Do not leave the church until you kiss the altar cross, which the priest will hold.
There are also prayers of thanksgiving in the temple that need to be heard.In extreme cases, you can read them at home by yourself. Keep the purity that you got inside your soul. Each time it will be easier and easier.
What you should know about the communion of children and patients
It should be said that little children (up to the age of seven) take communion without confession. Also, they do not need to prepare as an adult does (fasting, prayer, repentance). Those babies who received baptism receive Communion on the same day or during the next liturgy that follows their baptism.
For patients, too, make exceptions. They can not prepare as healthy people do, but if possible, you should at least confess. But if the patient can not do this, then the priest reads "I believe, O Lord, and I confess." After that he immediately takes communion.
Church practice does not deny the acceptance of the Holy Gifts by those parishioners who are temporarily excommunicated from the sacrament, but are on their deathbed or in danger. However, the recovery continues (if it happens).
Who can not take the sacrament
Preparing for the communion for beginners includes knowledge and one who can not accept it. This will be discussed below:
- those who did not confess cannot take the sacrament (except for children who are under seven years old);
- parishioners who were excommunicated from accepting the Holy Mysteries also cannot take communion;
- those who are insensate;
- parishioners who are insane and possessed in the event that they blaspheme in their attacks (if this does not happen, then you can take communion, but this should not happen every day);
- spouses who had an intimate life on the eve of the adoption of the Sacraments;
- you can not take communion in women who have menstruation.
A brief reminder for the communion and confessors
So now let us summarize all the moments that arise when preparation for confession and communion takes place. Memo will help not to forget all the stages.
- Awareness of sin.
- Repentance in a perfect, special state, when you have forgiven all and do not feel evil.
- Preparing for confession. Here it is necessary to reconsider what sins can be: in relation to God, relatives, to himself (smoking, for example), carnal sins, those that relate to the family (infidelity, etc.).
- Correct and sincere, without reserve, confession.
- Post if necessary.
- Direct communion.
- Further retention of purity and Christ in the body.
Separately, you need to say about how to behave in the temple during communion.
- Do not be late for the liturgy.
- You need to cross at the opening of the royal gates, then fold your arms crosswise. Also approach and move away from the Chalice.
- Approach from the right side, and the left should be free. Do not push.
- The sacrament should take place in turn: the bishop, the presbyters, the deacons, the subdeacons, the readers, the children, the adults.
- Women need to come to the temple without lipstick.
- Before accepting the Gifts of Christ, do not forget to give your name.
- They are not baptized directly in front of the cup.
- It happens that the Holy Gifts are given from two or more Cups. In this case, you should choose one, since communion more than once a day is considered a sin.
- At home after communion you need to read the prayers of thanks, if you have not listened to them in the temple.
Now, perhaps, you are aware of all the steps that the communion includes in the church, preparation for it. It is very important to approach this consciously, with a deep faith in the heart. The most important thing is repentance of one’s sins, which should be true, and not just in words.But this, too, should not stop. It is necessary to reject sin from life as something alien, to understand that it is impossible to live like this, to realize that lightness can only come with purity.
So, as we can see, the preparation for the sacrament is a serious stage before the Sacrament itself. All recommendations should be observed in order to come ready to receive the Gifts of Christ. It is necessary to realize in advance the importance of this moment, therefore a more earnest prayer is required. And to clean the body of the believer will help fasting, to clean the soul - confession to the priest. Conscious preparation for communion and confession will help the parishioner to understand that this Sacrament is not at all one of the many rituals, but something more profound. This is a special fellowship with the Lord, as a result of which the life of a Christian is changed radically.
However, it should be taken into account (this is important first of all for those parishioners who have just stepped on the path of repentance) that it is impossible to fix everything at once. If you have been building up a sinful burden for decades, then you need to get rid of it gradually. And taking the sacrament is the first step on this path.