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The Holy Bible tells us not to take Holy Communion unworthily. What conditions are considered to make us unworthy? Also, if we take Holy Communion on a regular basis, how often should we be confessing?
Requested and Answered by Shenouda on 08-Aug-2005 01:24 (2592 reads)
The meaning of "worthy to partake of the communion" is often questioned. Many refrain from partaking of the Lord's Holy Body and Blood although they desire to partake of Him. The words within St. Basil's Divine Liturgy ask, "O Lord, make us worthy to partake of Your Holies in purification for our souls, bodies, and spirits." Also the words said by the deacon immediately before partaking of the Holy Communion are, "Pray for the merit of partaking of these Holy, Pure, and Heavenly Sacraments." Therefore many often question what is the appropriate readiness for partaking of the Holy Communion.

One of the basic principles of the Christian faith is that personal struggle cannot make the person perfect, but being righteous is due to Divine Grace only. St. Paul told us that, "If righteousness comes by law, then Christ is dead in vain." (Galations 2:21) If we do not proceed for Holy Communion and wait until we are righteous, then we want to become righteous by our own efforts.

The true and right preparation for Communion is repentance from the heart over all our past sins and a determination to submit all our life to God, to live with Him in holiness and righteousness, and to get rid of all our weaknesses, which hinder our relationship with God. To be worthy to partake of the Holy Communion means, to proceed in awe and fear and appreciation of that
great Sacrament and with the feeling that we are not worthy of that GREAT HONOR.

St. Paul does indeed tell us, "He that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself not DISCERNING THE LORD'S BODY." (I Corinthians 11:29) He also said, "Let a man EXAMINE HIMSELF and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup." (I Corinthians 11:28)

This is the most important point: to examine ourselves and see if we confessed an honest confession. St. John Chrysostom says, "Let no one proceed to the Holy Communion with laziness or negligence, but let all go to receive it with enthusiasm and preparation so that we may not be punished. Do not be guilty of His Body and Blood as those who crucified Him." One should bath or shower before going to church to partake of the Holy Communion and proceed with clean clothes.

How often should one confess? One should confess AT LEAST every forty days. The instruction given by the spiritual father in this matter is important too. "And many that believed came and confessed and showed their deeds." (Acts 19:18)

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