Preparing to Receive the Eucharist
Does it sometimes seem that we come up to Communion like we are coming up in line to get tickets for a ball game, and with considerably less excitement? How should we receive the Eucharist and how should we prepare to receive it? How can we let the Eucharist carry much more powerful grace for us and receive it consciously and with greater awareness of what is going happening?
It isn't directly a matter of "worthiness," really. We say that wonderful prayer, "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and my soul will be healed." Of course, we must be free from serious mortal sin (broken Communion). The reality is that we are all sinners and when we approach this sacrament, we need to be aware that we are receiving our Lord and Savior, who made us, who came to this earth to save us and who died for us. It is an overwhelming gift. If, when we come up to Communion, the minister gave a thousand dollars to everyone in the communion line, there would be much excitement in the church. But, when each of us receives Communion with - the body and blood, soul and divinity of - our Savior, we should be quite thrilled and show it. But, that takes a little work and preparation, and a little focus as we come to the Eucharist.
If Jesus himself, our risen Savior walked into the church and shook our hands, our hearts would be beating out of our chests and our lives would be transformed for a long time. We wouldn't have a hard time thanking him or being nicer to the people around us, or being more heroic in living our faith. The reality is that each time we receive the Eucharist, we are holding that same Lord in our hands and receiving him in our hearts.
If we receive this Communion with more awareness of what is happening and let it touch our hearts and, if we let this Communion with Jesus push out the other stuff that is "pre-occupying" our awareness - the anxieties, the conflicts, the fears, etc. - we will be free to love as we have been loved.