On the Prayer Before Communion

Let us reflect on them, because we cannot speak words of courtesy, words of empty politeness to God when we pray. What we say must be true, and we must make of every prayer a test of the truth of our conscience and of our lives.

Every time we come to Communion we say to the Lord that we come to Him Who is the Saviour of sinners, but we also state that we consider ourselves as the greatest of all. How much truth is there in such a statement when we make it? Or how can we make such a statement? Is it true? Can we truly say that we do consider ourselves the worst of all sinners? John of Kronstadt in his “Diary” makes a point which I believe is very important; he says that he also asks himself this very question, and he can answer it in all honesty, because, he says, if others had been given so much love, so much grace, so much Divine revelation as was given to him, they would have borne fruit which he proved unable to bear.

And so, this is a way in which we can ask ourselves questions when we come up to Communion, and say the words of the prayer before Communion. Is it simply that we repeat them because they are written in the books? Or is it that we are aware — but aware of what? Aware of being sinners? Yes, we all are aware of being sinners, more or less; but are we aware of how much we have received from God and how little fruit we have borne? It is only if we see vividly, clearly, the contrast between all that was possible, indeed — all that IS possible, and all that we are, that we can honestly say such words.

Let us reflect on them, because we cannot speak words of courtesy, words of empty politeness to God when we pray. What we say must be true, and we must make of every prayer a test of the truth of our conscience and of our lives.

Let us take this with us until we receive Communion again, so that one day, perhaps not at our next Communion, but after a long life of searching, of praying, of passing judgement on ourselves, we can say truly, “God, o God! How much you have given me, and how little fruit I have borne! If anyone had been given what you gave me, he would already be a Saint of God”. Amen.

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