Monday, July 8, 2013

Proper Preparation for Receiving the Holy Mysteries

The Eucharist
Proper Preparation for Receiving 
the Holy Mysteries
The Russian Orthodox Church requires anyone who desires to receive Holy Communion prepare themselves with confession, the Precommunion Prayers and to  abstain from food or drink from midnight on. Most of the world's Local Orthodox Churches hold to this standard, recognizing that the clergy, as guardians of the Mysteries, must make sure anyone who approaches the chalice is Orthodox, and is properly prepared.

The Church's requirement that one must be a member of the Orthodox Church before approaching the chalice relates to the fact that communion is the outward expression of having all things in common, both in faith and worship, since receiving the Holy Mysteries is the fruit of unity.


In receiving Holy Communion, we are eating and drinking the very Body and Blood of the Saviour for the healing of body and soul. This is not simply the remembrance of a past event, but the very participation of the Heavenly Banquet. We enter into a place where there is neither time nor space, and participate in this eternal banquet for the transformation of our very being.

Since the Eucharist is a true participation and foretaste of heavenly things, it is imperative that we be proper prepared, for to eat and drink unworthily is to put our immortal soul at risk.

Orthodoxy in North America does not have a common practice in regards to preparation for receiving the Eucharist. Some jurisdictions allow members to approach the chalice without having confessed, thus contributing to the abuse of the Mysteries. Yet on the flip side, those who are required to confess before communing can fall into the habit of going through the motions of confession without giving the priest adequate time to offer spiritual direction. When this happens, confession is sometimes no different than refraining to confession at all, for we can easily run through the usual litany of sins, get absolution and start the week off without having made a heartfelt confession at all.

If we have made a good confession we must have a plan of action that will allow the Holy Spirit to transform our heart, for true repentance MUST include a commitment to go and sin no more! This requires the guidance of a confessor and takes more time than simply getting in a long line prior to the service.

The midnight fast that must precede the Divine Liturgy, together with the Precommunion Prayers, is an additionally important step in our proper preparation for receiving the Eucharist, for these become the tools by which we make the reality of what we are receiving something more than mere ritual. If we were simply reenacting or commemorating the last meal the Lord shared with His disciples, confession, fasting, and preparatory prayers would be unnecessary. The requirements the Church places on her faithful is clear evidence that the Lord did not say, this is "like" my body and blood. The Eucharist is no mere symbol.

Love and blessings,
Abbot Tryphon

Monday July 8, 2013 / June 25, 2013
3rd Week after Pentecost. Tone one.
Apostles' (Peter & Paul) Fast. By Monastic Charter: Food without Oil

Virgin-martyr Febronia of Nisibis (304).
Venerable Nikon the Confessor of Optina (1931).
New Hieromartyrs Nicholas and Basil priests (1918).
New Hieromartyr Basil priest (1940).
Prince Peter (1228) and Princess Febronia (tonsured David and Euphrosyne), wonderworkers of Murom.
Venerables Leonis, Libye, and Eutropia of Syria.
Venerable Symeon of Sinai (5th c.).
Venerables Dionysius and Dometius (1380) of the Monastery of the Forerunner (Dionysiou), Mt. Athos (Greek).
New Martyr Procopius of Varna and Mt. Athqs, who suffered at Smyrna (1810) (Greek).
New Martyr George of Attalia (1823) (Greek).
Martyr Gallicianus the Patrician in Egypt (362).
St. Adelbert, archdeacon (740) (Neth.).
St. Theoleptus, metropolitan of Philadelphia (1322).
St. Moluac of Lismore (592) (Celtic & British).

You can read the life of the saint in red, by clicking on the name.

THANKS to all of you who have been able to contribute towards the support of the monastery. These difficult times of economic hardship have impacted the monastery, and those of you who have been able to donate, have been our lifeline. May God bless you for your generosity, and kindness.
With love in Christ,  
Abbot Tryphon

Donations can be made directly to the monastery through PayPal, or you may send donations to:

All-Merciful Saviour Monastery
PO Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA

The Scripture Readings for the Day

Romans 7:1-13

Freed from the Law

7 Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

Sin’s Advantage in the Law

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. 12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.

Law Cannot Save from Sin

13 Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful.

Matthew 9:36-10:8

36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

The Twelve Apostles

10 And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.

Sending Out the Twelve

These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

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