Unworthy Holy Communions: The Kiss of Judas

Consider this: making an unworthy communion — that is, a communion when one is in the state of mortal sin, not in God’s grace — is like giving Jesus the kiss of Judas again.

When I was in seminary we had a Byzantine Divine Liturgy (Ruthenian) every November 30, the Feast of St. Andrew, to expose us to the “other lung” of the Church’s rich tradition. I was completely electrified by the prayers the first time I ever attended.

Something I read last night reminded me of this and also called to mind the prayer that I remember we said before Holy Communion:

O Lord, I believe and profess that you are truly Christ,
The Son of the living God, who came into the world
To save sinners of whom I am the first.

Accept me today as a partaker of your mystical supper, O Son of God,
For I will not reveal your mystery to your enemies,
Nor will I give you a kiss as did Judas,
But like the thief I profess to you:

Remember me, O Lord, when you come in your kingdom.
Remember me, O Master, when you come in your kingdom.
Remember me, O Holy One, when you come in your kingdom.

May the partaking of your Holy mysteries, O Lord,
Be not for my judgment or condemnation,
But for the healing of my soul and body.

O Lord, I also believe and profess, that this,
Which I am about to receive,
Is truly your most precious Body, and your life-giving Blood,
Which, I pray, make me worthy to receive
For the remission of all my sins and for life everlasting.  Amen

O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.
O God, cleanse me of my sins and have mercy on me.
O Lord, forgive me for I have sinned without number.

It is not required that we go to communion at every single Mass. If we are not properly disposed — if we are not in the state of grace — may we not give Jesus the kiss of Judas! Our obligation is to attend Mass every Sunday and Holy Day — not to receive communion every time we are at Mass. Sometimes we may not be prepared to do so. Better to wait, in that case.

No, if one is not properly disposed for Holy Communion, it is better to remain in a state of humble repentance, unlike Judas, not daring to approach our Lord until we are spiritually prepared to do so, having gone to confession. Until then, however, we may make a spiritual communion. This post has a good spiritual communion prayer.

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