Leaning Into Holy Week: Maundy Thursday
“Almighty Father, whose most dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it in thankful remembrance of Jesus Christ our Savior, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."
The Eucharist is an inestimable gift. And, as our Maundy Thursday liturgy reminds us: "This is the night that Christ our God gave us this holy feast, that we who eat this bread and drink this cup may here proclaim his perfect sacrifice." I think our appreciation of Holy Communion can only increase if we meditate on how the Prayer Book instructs us to pray around it. Take a few moments to meditate on these prayers:
103. Preparation for Public Worship
Guide and direct us, O Lord, always and everywhere with your holy light, that we may discern with clear vision your presence among us, and partake with worthy intention of your divine mysteries. We ask this for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.
104. Before Receiving Communion
Be present, be present, O Jesus, our great High Priest, as you were present with your disciples, and be known to us in the breaking of bread; who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.
105. After Receiving Communion
O Lord Jesus Christ, in this wonderful Sacrament you have given us a memorial of your passion: Grant us, we pray, so to venerate the sacred mysteries of your Body and Blood, that we may ever perceive within ourselves the fruit of your redemption; who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
107. After Communion Liturgy of St. Basil
Finished and perfected is the mystery of thy dispensation to us, O Christ our God: For we have beheld the likeness of thy death, we have seen thy resurrection in the breaking of the bread, and we have partaken of thine inexhaustible and divine delights, of which do thou make us worthy, both now and in thy kingdom and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
As we wait until Easter to celebrate Communion again, may we increase in our estimation of this great gift, and in our devotion to the Lord who gave it to us. Amen.