Preparation and thanksgiving for Communion


Just as Jesus gave his whole self for us on the Cross, so in the Holy Communion he gives his whole Self to us in the Blessed Sacrament, and so we have to make our whole selves ready for him.  That means our preparation must include our soul, our mind and our body.

Preparation of the soul

This consists in a new effort to keep our three baptismal promises – to repent, to believe and to obey.

Self-examination and turning away from our sins

First of all we must, as the Prayer Book Catechism puts it, examine ourselves, whether we repent us truly of our former sins, “…steadfastly purposing to lead a new life…”. (1)  We should, therefore, on the Saturday go over in our mind all the sins we can remember having committed since our last Communion, tell God we are sorry, and make a resolution not to do this or that particular thing again.  If we have committed a serious sin, then we should go to Confession.  But in any case we should always go to Confession before our Easter Communion.

Turning to God

Secondly, we should “…have a lively faith in God’s mercy through Christ, with a thankful remembrance of his death…” (2)  That is to say, having turned away from our sins, we should turn to God in trust and love and gratitude.  In the Eucharist we offer Our Blessed Lord to God in thanksgiving for our salvation, and so in our preparation we should say the prayers in our devotional book with all the trust and love for him that we can.

Having good will to everyone

Thirdly, we should “be in charity with all men”. (3) That means, we must obey Our Lord’s command on Maundy Thursday, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (NRSV, John 15:12).  That does not mean that we must like everyone, but we must have good will and be friendly-minded to everyone.  This is very important.  Jesus once told his hearers, “…when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift” (NRSV, Matthew 5:23,24).  The altar was in the Temple at Jerusalem, but the people Jesus was talking to were Galileans, and that meant any of them might have to go 70 miles in order to get home and make up the quarrel.  So you can see how important it is to him that we should not bear anyone a grudge when we make our Communion.

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