Metropolitan Athanasios of Cyprus talks about the need for fasting before receiving Holy Communion. How many days?
Through baptism we are born again, through Holy Chrism we strengthen ourselves and gain life, and through Holy Communion we become one body, we become one, we unite with Christ and become, truly, the children of God!
There is no other way! This is a reality which can not be fulfilled in any other way. Only when you unite with Christ you live in Christ!
Otherwise, Christian life would only be a philosophical, theoretical state that will not last for a long time.
Of course, when someone does not commune, does not attend the Divine Liturgy, will be a good person, theoretically, but at some point, this state will gradually degrade and he or she will become only a good person, in a worldly manner, nothing more!
Now let’s see, how do we prepare [for receiving communion]?
We prepare through everything Our Holy Church has left us, as medicine that prepare us.
Like the confession of sins, prayer, fasting, as it is prescribed by the Church.
Thus, we fast in the Great Lent, like now, we fast before Christmas, before the Holy Apostles (Peter and Paul), before the Dormition of the Mother of God and other feast days.
We also regularly fast on all Wednesdays and Fridays of the year, with a few exceptions.
And if we keep the Church’s fasting periods, we can thus receive communion…
Regarding the fasting period, in any day of the year in which we are present at the Divine Liturgy, it’s enough to fast only in that day, to avoid eating in that morning.
There is no need for another fasting period, unless the Spiritual Father instructs us otherwise, showing us that for our personal benefit and for our personal struggle we have to keep fasting in the previous evening, the previous day, a few days before and so on.
This is something personal, not a general rule for everyone.
When the Christian observes the fasting periods of the Church, he or she doesn’t need to keep another fast before receiving communion, but only the fasting of the day, that is, to avoid eating from morning until the moment of communion.
This, even if it is a simple and external thing, has the benefits that the fasting, as a physical and spiritual struggle, brings into human’s life, purifying the mind, body and soul.
It strengthens our will, it gives us the chance to deny the sin and the old man it helps us to learn to say “no” to many things which drag and move us towards sin or wickedness.
But what essentially prepares us for the Holy Communion is the great repentance and humility which we must grow in our soul. This is what we need…
Let’s prepare with repentance and humility!
The one who found out this spiritual path, really found that small key which unlocks the door of God! Repentance, humility, crushing of the heart, are those who make us worthy before God.