This week in Sacramental Theology we were talking about the Eucharist and Ethics in somewhat of a combined discussion. We covered many things but one of the things that we touched on was the idea of preparation for Communion.
Obviously, as Orthodox Christians we take great care not to approach the holy chalice in an unworthy manner without preparation. However, as our discussion progressed, one thing that came up was how distorted we can sometimes be in our thinking about preparation for Communion.
All to often we hold ourselves to strict fasts from food items during the week leading up to our receipt of Holy Communion yet forget completely the necessity it is to abstain from judging our brothers and sisters, to forego holding grudges against our enemies and to partake and participate in relationships of love with ALL of those around us as well as the entirety of God's creation about us. Let me stress that ultimately, it is only this love that will survive into the Kingdom of God.. for there we won't have need for confession, for fasting, etc. but will be left with the love we did or did not cultivate through our own compassion and selflessness.
In light of these thoughts on preparation for Holy Communion, may we always be mindful of the following:
It's easy to follow rules but it is not easy to be crucified for the other.
May we ever bear this in mind as we draw closer to Christ and as we prepare ourselves to approach Holy Communion with "fear of God, faith, and love." May love for God and for the other ever be our guiding principle!