Adapted from a sermon on Holy Communion by Macarius Notaras, 18 th Century Archbishop of Corinth.

How often do you receive Holy Communion? Every week? Once or twice a month? How about once or twice a year?

To receive Holy Communion the usual two or three times per year is certainly good and helpful, but to receive on a more frequent basis is far better! Remember, the nearer one comes to the light, the better he or she sees. The closer one draws nearer to the fire, the warmer one becomes. The nearer one approaches sanctity and holy thoughts, the more saintly one becomes. In the same way, the more often one draws near to God in Holy Communion, the more one will receive enlightenment, comfort, satisfaction and holiness. If you are worthy of receiving communion two or three times a year, you are certainly worthy of receiving more often!

What stops us from receiving more often? Sometimes it's our own laziness or carelessness by not preparing the correct way, such as fasting regularly from certain foods or behaviors. Maybe we came in too late on Saturday night and just want to sleep in? Whatever the answer may be, we must all examine our personal lives and ask ourselves one question: "Are we preparing often enough?"

What happens to our bodies if we do not prepare to eat to sustain our physical well-being? We become tired, sluggish and almost lifeless. Could we survive on eating food only two to three times per year? Of course not!! One must eat daily to maintain a healthy body. When we deprive ourselves of Holy Communion, the spiritual nourishment for maintaining a healthy soul, it has the same effect. We become tired and sluggish in going to Church. We drift further and further from God. Our souls become lifeless!

The only clear conclusion is this: Preparing to receive more often. Don't wait for special holidays or occasions. Each Divine Liturgy celebrated is His Grand Banquet! Come and receive Him often, allowing your souls to feast on the banquet of Christ's precious Body and Blood, shed for all of us.

Fr. Nicholas Rafael serves as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Metropolis of New Jersey. He and his wife Olga, and his children Gabrielle and Andrew live in Little Falls, New Jersey.

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