Drama of the Divine Liturgy (Distribution and Partaking of Holy Eucharist)

The priest then says several private prayers as final preparation before receiving the elements. These prayers are focused upon the priest’s acknowledgement of his position before God and his dependence upon God for this holy food and includes the statement, "Lord I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof, but speak the word only and my soul shall be healed.”

As the priest partakes of his own communion and says his own prayers of devotion, the people are encouraged to say their own private prayers as they themselves make final preparation to receive the body and blood of Christ. One such set of prayers is provided below, however others could be said. The intent of these prayers is for the communicant to continue to orient their heart towards the dependence they have upon God for His amazing grace and endless mercy:

I believe, O Lord, and I confess, that thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God, who didst come into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. And I believe that this is truly thine own immaculate Body, and that this is truly thine own precious Blood. Wherefore I pray thee, have mercy upon me and forgive me my transgressions both voluntary and involuntary, of word and of deed, of knowledge and of ignorance; and make me worthy to partake without condemnation of thine immaculate Mysteries, unto remission of my sins and unto life everlasting.

Of thy Mystic Supper, O Son of God, accept me today as a communicant: for I will not speak of thy Mystery to thine enemies, neither will I give thee a kiss as did Judas; but like the Thief will I confess thee: Remember me, O Lord, in thy Kingdom, Not unto judgment nor unto condemnation be my partaking of thy holy Mysteries, O Lord, but unto healing of soul and body.

After he receives, the priest turns to the people to display for them the consecrated elements and declares, "Behold the Lamb of God, behold him that taketh away the sins of the world.” While looking upon the real presence of Christ, the congregation responds with their own declaration of dependence upon God, ”Lord I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof, but speak the word only and my soul shall be healed."

The priest then distribute the elements to those serving at the altar and those eligible to receive come forward. When receiving, the most appropriate way to receive is to have the priest place the host directly on the tongue or in the mouth. While there are other customary postures (outstretched hands, intinction, etc.), the most important consideration is that reverence be maintained and that the person reinforces by their posture that they are not partaking of mundane bread but interacting with that which is holy.

(as published in St. Luke’s Sunday Bulletin, 9/9/18)