"Holy - holy": what you need to know about the frequency of communion?
It is a sad but undeniable fact: today even temples crowded with people can rarely be praised by a large number of communicants. Of course, with the onset of Lent, the situation changes somewhat. People suddenly remember their souls, the needs of their spiritual reinforcement, huge queues for confession are formed. But, nevertheless, for some reason the opinion was affirmed in our consciousness that it is necessary to take communion only for some reason and extremely rarely.
It is necessary to say at once that such a view on the frequency of communion, when the Holy Cup should be started as little as possible, is false and unjustified. As is known, the Eucharist (communion) is the crown of all the sacraments performed in the church. Through her, we are incomprehensible and very closely connected with His Creator. Nothing can be higher than this. Why then do we consciously deprive ourselves of such divine consolation and honor?
Often, supporters of rare communion like to talk about their unworthiness. In this, of course, there is a share of Pharisee hypocrisy. Indeed, from the fact that we will longer prepare for the Sacrament of the Eucharist or, less frequently, begin to approach it, we are unlikely to become more worthy. Here is what the skiigumen Savva (Ostapenko) said about this:The grace given by communion is so great that no matter how unworthy, no matter how sinful a person is, but if only in the humble consciousness of all sinfulness he proceeds to the Lord, who redeems all of us, and then at least from head to foot was covered with sores of sins be cleansed by the grace of Christ, will be more and more light, completely enlightened and saved
St. John Chrysostom was even more categorical regarding the alleged unworthiness of accepting the Holy Mysteries of Christ:... it is not the time used to prepare for the sacrament that makes a person worthy, but the lifestyle he leads. Unworthy of the sacrament is not the one who often takes Communion, but one whose life does not correspond to the greatness and holiness of the Body and Blood of Christ ... O man! Are you unworthy of the sacrament? Then you are not worthy to hear the prayers of the Liturgy.
We should not forget that the holy Eucharist was given to us precisely as a condescension to our weakness, for its healing. This is a gift to us, not a reward. In the full sense of the word, only the Lord is holy. Only by partaking of His holiness can we be sanctified.
Church history knows few cases when people acquired their righteousness in another way, without strengthening themselves by regularly eating the Body and Blood of Christ. At the same time, it is necessary to understand that the example of St. Mary of Egypt, hermit monks is a personal feat that is not available to us today.
How to commune before?
It is significant that in the early Church people often received communion, at every Liturgy they attended. Initially, it was once, and then four times a week. It was unthinkable to be present at the Divine Meal and not to partake of it.
In the life of Macarius of Egypt, we encounter an interesting story about how a single married woman was subjected to the actions of a sorcerer and to everyone who saw her seemed like a horse. When the husband brought the woman to Reverend Macarius to spell her, he said to her:It happened to you because five weeks have passed since you did not partake of the Divine Mysteries.
Of course, many people like to object to such a frequency of communion, saying that at that time people were more pious. But the reason is obviously changing places with the investigation. People therefore were more pious before, that they took communion more often. Rare communion was largely the result of the influence of the West and the large influx of unenlightened people into the church.
In Russia, the tradition of rare communion arose only in the XVIII century. This was also associated with the decline of spirituality. The "pious" norm was the communion once in each post and on the name day. Then they took communion even once a year, as the holy righteous John of Kronstadt deeply grieved and lamented. The sad consequence of this practice is the whole era of militant atheism after the revolutionary events of 1917.
If there is no confessor
Of course, the question of the frequency of communion is best addressed with his confessor. In a pinch, you can ask advice from any priest who knows you a little. Then even the rare acceptance of the Holy Gifts will serve you for good, for it will be performed with blessing.
How to be in a situationwhen there is no confessor? How to determine for themselves the frequency of the participle? The best and safest in this case will adhere to the "golden mean". Holy communion is about twice a month. This should, of course, take into account the objective conditions in which you are.
The most important thing
There are several important points about the Sacrament of the participle, which should always be considered:
- Do not make the frequency of the sacrament an end in itself.
- Every time there must be an inner desire to take communion.
- Proceed to the sacrament should be with the same reverence.
- It is important to try to keep within yourself as long as possible the grace-giving gifts from communion and to bring worthy fruits.
- In no case can one be proud that you approach the Holy Mysteries of Christ more often than other people.
- For the participle, as well as for the spiritual life in general, constancy and regularity matters.
- It is logical to move from rare to more frequent communion, but not vice versa, that is, consistency is important.
- You should not show any self-will, deciding the question of the frequency of initiation.
- It must be remembered that in the case of frequent participles, indulgences are made in the period and severity of fasting.
Communion in Lent
Any post is a special, favorable time for the human soul. Especially since it concerns Lent. Therefore, it is fully justified that during this period, believers more often try to join the Body and Blood of Christ. We can say that this is the main point of the post. Through participation in the Eucharist, we can come as close as possible and unite with God, having previously cleansed ourselves physically and mentally.
Through communion, we are connected not only with Christ, but also with each other, we receive strength for further spiritual struggle. It was out of the need for frequent communion that a special Lenten liturgy arose - the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts. In antiquity, the monks simply did not imagine the opportunity to pass the difficult time of fasting, without resorting to the holy Sacrament as often as possible.
Therefore, for the Orthodox "with experience", you can safely ask for a blessing even for weekly guards. Do not just forget that to the Holy Cup must be approached not only in the post. Otherwise, the Mystery of the Sacrament itself is profaned. By itself, the post should not be a pretext or a guarantee of a worthy communion, as John Chrysostom wrote about this:But neither the Epiphany, nor the Forty-week Lynch do not make people worthy of communion, but the sincerity and purity of the soul make them worthy. With this purity of soul, you can take communion every time, and without it, never take communion ...
Is it possible to get used to the shrine?
Speaking about the frequency of the sacrament, one often hears the opinion of the danger of getting used to the shrine. But does it have any rationale or only serves us for self-justification? Let's make a simple analogy.
To maintain our physical strength, we need food every day. But he had never heard from anyone that he was accustomed to food, which he could live without. The same, if not greater need, as food is for the body, for the soul of man is the Eucharist. Righteous John of Kronstadt in connection with this leads another comparison:Do you often wash your face and body in the bath, and your face every morning? Do not wash your soul is constantly defiled by sins every day? Ridiculous, senseless people who think and even speak insanely; they are ignorant, they do not understand the needs of the human soul. They are cruel! They did not know the spirit of Christ
What do the saints say?
Among the Orthodox saints, it will be very difficult to find someone who would rarely call on the Sacrament of the sacrament.On the contrary, they all say that you should not deprive yourself of this spiritual food under any pretext. Here are the words of St. John Kassian:We should not be removed from the communion of the Lord because we recognize ourselves as sinners; but even more and more with thirst we must hurry to him to heal the soul and purify the spirit, but with such humility of spirit and faith, so that we consider ourselves unworthy of accepting such grace, we would like more healing for our wounds
Saint Nicholas Kavasila compares the frequency of communion with the testimony of man’s love for God:... if someone, having the opportunity to take communion, refuses to start the Eucharistic meal, such will not receive the consecration delivered by this meal; not because he did not take communion, but because, having such an opportunity, he refuses to proceed ... How can one believe in the love of one who, having the ability to accept the Sacraments, is rejected by them?
A kind of result of all the above brings St. John Chrysostom. He is asking:Who do we approve? Are those who take communion once, or those who often, or those who rarely?
He himself answers:Neither those nor others, nor third, but communists with a clear conscience, with a pure heart, with impeccable life. Let them always proceed; not such - not once. Why? Because they incur judgment, condemnation, punishment, and torment ... I say this not to prohibit you from embarking once a year, but rather wishing you to continually approach the Holy Mysteries
Advice archpriest Dimitry Smirnov regarding the frequency of participle, see the video: