Receiving Holy Communion is a wonderful and miraculous thing! Just as I would prepare my home to entertain a special guest, I should also prepare my heart and body to receive the King of Kings. There are many practices prescribed by the Church that aid in this preparation.
As always, I encourage you to consult your spiritual father on how to go about preparing for Holy Communion. My hope is to provide resources and inspiration.
1.Go to confession regularly. Confession allows relief and repentance in our hearts, and a merciful way to reset. Don’t allow the burden of many cares weigh you down. Most children begin to confess around age 7. Many spiritual fathers require confession right before receiving, and others require at the very least, a monthly confession.
2. Ask forgiveness of those you may have offended. Say, “Please forgive me,” and give them a hug. Be at peace as you approach the cup.
3. Fast. Typically, we are asked to fast from food and drink from midnight the night before until receiving communion. We are also asked to abstain from sex the night before receiving communion. Pregnant or nursing mommas, those who are ill, or who are very young, are not asked to fast before communion. For more fasting thoughts, scroll through This page.
Some devout faithful also keep a vegan diet and abstain from worldly music or movies the day before receiving communion. The purpose is to focus on the upcoming liturgy and prepare our hearts.
Following the advice of their spiritual father, many women abstain from communion during their period.
4. The night before, attend vespers, vigil, or read the services with your family at home. If you are on the New Calendar, Here is a great resource for reading Saturday night vespers at home. I will work on finding an Old Calendar resource.
5. Say (or listen to) the prayers before communion. Most commonly, we are asked to use this text when preparing for communion: Prayers Before Communion. Many suggest reading these the night before, or in the morning before liturgy. These practices are always relaxed for children, and often relaxed for those who are ill, or busy with little ones.
Many faithful will also read these three canons and an Akathist:
- Supplicatory Canon to our Lord Jesus Christ
- Supplicatory Canon to the Most Holy Theotokos
- Canon to the Guardian Angel
Read or listen to all three canons Here.
- An Akathist, either one:
6. Participate in the Liturgy. Sing along, or quietly say the words. Venerate, light candles, and bow. Many women prefer to cover their heads as they receive communion. Fold your arms as you approach the chalice.
7. If you were not able to receive communion, you can still receive the antidoran. Many spiritual fathers prefer that you also fast before eating the bread, but this practice is not heavily enforced in many places. The proper time for non-communicants to receive antidoran is during Psalm 33(34) at the end of liturgy. Watch the crumbs, and don’t let them fall!
8. Read the Thanksgiving Prayers After Communion .
8. If you are feeling inspired, you could also bake prosphora! In some parishes, families will bake their own personal prosphora. The prosphora is placed in a small basket with the names of the living and departed that the family wishes to pray for. The basket is given to the priest before proskomedia, and is offered for the Divine Liturgy. The priest will take out a small portion of each loaf for the Liturgy, and the rest is given back to the family to be eaten for the rest of the week at morning prayers.