Preparation for Holy Communion. 10 things. Part 4. The Evening Service.

Preparation for Holy Communion

10 Things [1]


4. Typical preparation for Holy Communion includes prayer at the evening service.


In our parish, on Saturdays, this is Vigil, consisting of Vespers and Matins and the First Hour. It is about two and a half hours long, and contains detailed and exalted, intricately theological prayers of praise, supplication and thanksgiving, all interwoven with the theme of the Resurrection, and its implications, since every Sunday of the year is a commemoration of the resurrection.


The principle here of “if you can do something, you must do it” surely applies here.


Some people have the strength to attend the whole vigil regularly, and they benefit greatly from this practice. Others have varying levels of strength, but if they follow this all important Christian principle, they will grow in strength.


Practically, a person should not commune unless they have attended Vespers at a minimum.


In general, the confessor must be aware of why you were absent from the evening service if you wish to commune.


I have allowed many to commune who have not attended the evening service, if as, the petition in our ectenia says they were “absent for honorable cause.” There are honorable reasons to be absent, such as work, or some family needs, distance, health, etc. 


I am well aware that we live in an “all or nothing” culture. Evening attendance would surely increase for some mysterious reason if I only served Vespers. If I did this, then nobody in our church would ever be benefited by matins, which in my opinion is the most important service of the week. You can attend a service that is not served!


If you only have the strength for Vespers, then come to the Vespers portion of the vigil. If you need to confess, in this case, you would need to confess before Vespers (4-5 pm) or make an appointment with me for confession Sunday morning.


From St Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney


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