+L’s Little Liturgical Lesson: MAKING YOUR APPROACH

So last week I reflected on the last words we say before coming forward to receive the Blessed Sacrament (and often used name for holy communion). Your last public word echoes that of the Centurian when Jesus offered to come to his house…”Lord, I am not worthy….”

So now you stand in line, and wait.

  • Why not pray as you wait? Don’t let yourself be distracted by the outfit or shape ! of the person in front of you or by anything else. You are making an intentional journey that will result in a fresh touch from Christ…
  • For myself, I often use a sentiment expressed in Psalm 57 and just keep gently repeating it: “My heart is ready O God, my heart is ready”…this ‘readiness’ is not a sort of ‘everything’s done’ or ‘I’m all prepared’ sort of readiness, but an expression of your desire for Him.
  • Whether you find yourself kneeling at the communion rail or standing, you must kneel in your heart. If you are physically unable to kneel, you can still kneel in your heart.
  • To receive communion is one of the serious things you do in your week, and it will have consequences. Without this gift, you would be a different person. With it  you can be a better person.
  • Many people make a last minute preparation as the one administering the sacrament draws near. They make the +sign of the Cross. It can help you focus on the one whose presence you are receiving and reminds you that Holy Communion is the fruit of the Cross.
  • When the Host (the consecrated bread, now the Body of Christ) is placed in your hands, place one over the other to form what an early Christian Tertullian calls a throne. Elsewhere he says treat the sacrament as if it were grains of gold! Some people prefer the sacrament to be placed directly on to their tongue. Either is acceptable.
  • When the chalice comes, it is a good idea to gently take hold of the base of it to help guide it to your mouth. Sometimes, especially if the chalice is beginning to empty it is a little hard for the administrator to know for sure that you have received the wine.
  • It is a good tradition when you hear the administrant say ‘The Body of Christ’ or ‘The Blood of Christ’ to answer AMEN before receiving. It is your YES to Christ at that moment and an affirmation that you believe in the gift you are receiving.
  • When you get up having received from the chalice be mindful of the person next to you who is now receiving. As a rule of thumb it is best to wait until that person has received before getting up yourself.
  • If you are not a communicant you can come forward for a personal blessing – always worth having!
  • Go back to your place and meditate a little on who you have received into your life by taking holy communion. On Sundays there is generally a prayer in the service paper to help you to pray.

A FINAL THOUGHT!   What do you think your face looks like as you return to your place? What sort of expression would anyone looking at you see? Would an unbeliever imagine something extraordinary has just happened to you?

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