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I.-In heaven JESUS CHRIST is always offering or showing Himself to the FATHER that our sins may be forgiven. CHRIST pleads with the FATHER, that is, reminds His FATHER of His death upon the cross. When you come to the Holy Communion you will do on earth what CHRIST is doing in Heaven. You will remind God that JESUS CHRIST died for you. You will ask Him for CHRIST'S sake to forgive your sins. This is what St. Paul says, “ As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the LORD's death till He come” (1 Corinthians xi. 26).
11.-By Holy Communion your soul is strengthened. At the Last Supper JESUS CHRIST took bread and blessed it, and said, THIS IS MY BODY. He then took the cup of wine. He blessed it, and said, THIS IS MY BLOOD. You will find the account of this in Matthew xxvi. 26-29; Mark xiv. 22–25 ; Luke xxii. 14-20; and I Corinthians xi. 23–29. CHRIST'S own words must be true. In the Holy Communion JESUS CHRIST comes to feed our souls
spiritually with His Flesh and Blood. You must come in repentance and faith, and believe that then He will give Himself to you. In this special way your soul will be made truly strong to fight against temptation.
The week before you receive the Holy Communion should be made a week of preparation. Never let a night pass without one thought about the great blessing which you are going to receive. But do not let either the prayers in preparation, or the devotions during the service, distress you. They are meant to help, not to hinder. Oftentimes only a small part of them can be used. They will not be too long for those who are in harbour ships where there is a regular routine, and plenty of spare time which can be reckoned upon. Use, therefore, just as much of these devotions as you find helpful.
On this day you should begin your self-examination-thinking over all you have done wrong since your last Communion. If you want assistance you will find the Chaplain always ready to help you in this difficult task. He will advise you how to overcome your bad habits, and, if you wish for it, help you to come to Holy Communion with a quiet conscience, as God promises through him to give peace to your soul. That the Chaplain should be your friend is the advice of the Church, as well as of the Admiralty instructions; as the following words will shew :
“ And because it is requisite that no one should come to the Holy Communion but with a full trust in God's Mercy, and with a quiet conscience,” -if you feel your conscience troubled with any weighty matter, in which you require counsel and advice, your Church directs you to “ go to the Minister of God's Word, and open your grief, that you may receive the benefit of absolution, with ghostly counsel and advice." :
* First exhortation to the Holy Communion in Book of Common Prayer.
If he has already advised you, you will know what to do. When you have tried to remember your sins, think how much God loves you and wishes you to be saved. Ask Him to make you truly sorry for your sins, and to help you to lead a new and better life, in the following prayer :
O LORD JESUS, Saviour of the world, who camest to save sinners, and saidst, Come unto Me all that travail and are heavy laden and I will refresh you, behold I, a sinner, come to Thee for forgiveness. I have wandered from Thee like a lost sheep. But thou art the Good Shepherd who didst lay down Thy life for Thy sheep. Bring me back again to Thy fold, and let me not any more go astray lest I perish everlastingly. I come to Thee, wash my many sins away. LORD, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean. Make me clean by Thy precious Body and Blood, and help me to serve and love Thee with my whole heart, and bring me at last to Thy heavenly Kingdom. Amen.
FRIDAY. All the blessings you receive come from the death of CHRIST. You ought therefore on Friday to think about His death and sufferings, and to try to be thankful for them. Remember that He laid aside His glory as GOD, and became a weak and suffering Man for your sake. He was hungry, thirsty, sorrowful, despised, and at last crucified. He now humbles Himself so much that He gives Himself to you in the Blessed Sacrament of His Body and Blood. Think how very forgetful you have been of His great goodness. You should read a passage of Holy Scripture and think about it. The Gospel for the day will often be very suitable; or else you may read part of the history of the Passion. You will find this in Matthew xxvi. and xxvii. ; Mark xiv. and xv. ; Luke xxii. and xxiii.; John xviii. and xix. The following passages refer to Holy Communion : Matthew XV. 32-39, xxii. 1-14; Mark v. 24-34 ; Luke xiv. 12-24, xv. 11-32, xix. 1-10; John ii.