Chosen Bridegroom of our hearts and souls, through Thine incarnation and death on the cross Thou hast betrothed all mankind to Thysclf forever and hast given us as a pledge of eternal life Thy most pure Body and Blood. Lo! At Thy call, I though unworthy, dare to approach Thy divine Table, and struck by its majesty, I cry:
Jesus, God of my heart, come and unite me to Thyself forever.
Thou didst send Thine Angel to the Prophet Isaiah with a live coal from the heavenly altar that his lips might be purified thereby, when, beholding Thee seated upon Thy throne, he was distressed over his impurity. And how shall I, who am defiled in body and soul, dare to approach to partake of Thy divine Mysteries for communion except Thou Thyself purify me from on high? Where fore, I cry out to Thee from the depths of my soul:
Jesus most good, touch also mine impure lips with the fire of Thy grace; Jesus, burn the thorns of my many transgressions; Jesus, create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me. Jesus, lead my poor soul out of the prison of the passions; Jesus, destroy in me impure thoughts and evil lusts; Jesus, guide my feeble steps to the path of Thy commandments. Jesus, God of my heart, come and unite me to Thyself forever.
Greatly desiring to eat a last Passover with Thy disciples before Thy Passion, that in the midst thereof Thou mightest give them the last and greatest pledge of Thy love, Thou didst send two of them to Jerusalem two days before Thee, that thus they might prepare it. Hence, learning how we, too, ought to prepare ourselves betimes to eat of the divine Passover which is Thy Body and Blood, I cry out to Thee in thanksgiving: Alleluia!
"Loose thy sandles from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground ," didst Thou say unto Moses from out of the bush which burned yet was not consumed by Thine unseen presence therein. The vessel which containeth Thy Body and Blood is greater and more holy indeed than the unburnt bush, but I am dust, unclean and sold under sin. Wherefore, with humility and faith I cry out to Thee: Jesus almighty, strip from me the old man and all his works. Jesus, slay within me the seed of corruption which maketh its nest within me.
Jesus, break Thou the bonds of sin whereby the enemy hath bound me. Jesus, grant me a humble heart and a broken spirit; Jesus, drive far from me temptations and occasions for stumbling. Jesus, establish me in faith and love for Thee. Jesus, God of my heart, come and unite me to Thyself forever.
"Our fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. I am the Bread which cometh down from heaven which, if any man eat thereof, he shall live forever. And the Bread which I will give is My Flesh, which I will give for the life of the world," Thou didst say to the Jews that sought to see from Thee a sign from heaven like unto the manna of Moses, And hearing and beholding the fulfilment of the prophecy, we cry out with fear: Alleluial
Having risen from the supper, as the holy John doth relate, and girded. Thyself about with a towel, Thou didst wash the feet of the disciples, thereby teaching us that we ought not to approach Thy divine Table in our sins unwashed by tears of repentance. Mindful of my great need for this mystical ablution and of the dearth of tears of my hardened heart, with Peter I cry to Thee:
Jesus all-good, do Thou Thyself wash not only my feet, but my hands and head as well. Jesus, lay bare before me the abyss of my soul's corruption; Jesus, open within me the floodgates of heartfelt contrition; Jesus, bedew me with the drops of Thy loving-kindness; Jesus, wrap me about with the fear of the judgment and the eternal torments; Jesus, awaken within me my sleeping conscience and strengthen its voice. Jesus, God of my heart, come and unite me to Thyself forever.
"Is this not Jesus, the Son of Joseph, Whose father and mother we know? How is it, then, that He saith, I came down from heaven? How can He give His Flesh to eat?" said the Jews among themselves, on hearing Thy most glorious promise to give Thyself as food to the faithful, unable in the hardness of their hearts to believe with humility and cry out to Thee: Alleluia!
"Except ye eat the Flesh of the Son of man, and drink His Blood, ye have no life in you," Thou didst tell the Jews that were slow to believe, and this saying was shown to be hard to accept even for certain ofThy disciples that were yet ignorant of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. But we, illumined with light of the Gospel and beholding Thy divine glory with face unveiled, cry out to Thee with faith and love:
Jesus, Who canst do everything through the greatness of Thy power and dominion; Jesus, Who createth and perfecteth more then we can understand and comprehend; Jesus, Who once rained down manna from heaven as a sign of the present Mystery; Jesus, Who didst pour forth water from a rock as a prefiguring thereof. Jesus, Who didst send a cloud of quail as food for the Jews, who .were starving in the wilderness; Jesus, Who before the very eyes of the doubting Jews didst satisfy five thousand men with five loaves of bread. Jesus, God of my heart, come and unite me to Thyself forever.
While eating Thy supper with Thy disciples, taking bread, and blessing and breaking it, Thou didst give it to them, saying: "Take, eat; this is My Body, which is broken for you for the remission of sins." And thereafter, having given them the Cup, Thou didst say: "Drink ye all of it: this is My Blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins." Hearkening to this divine and most sweet voice, with thanksgiving we cry: Alleluia!
Ikos V He who eateth My Flesh, and drinketh My Blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him. He hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day, which is at the resurrection of life and blessedness. Wherefore, seeking to be vouchsafed this longed-for resurrection unto life, from the depths of my soul I cry to Thee:
Jesus, draw nigh unto one that seeketh union to Thee: Jesus, enter into my inmost parts, into all my members and bones. Jesus, be Thou a light unto my darkened mind; Jesus, fill with Thyself the abyss of my heart, which the whole world cannot satisfy; Jesus, speak through the voice of my conscience; Jesus, stir and guide my will. Jesus, God of my heart, come and unite me to Thyself forever.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you that one of you shall betray Me," Thou didst say in anguish of spirit to Thy disciples at the supper. And though they were innocent of any intention to betray Thee, each of them asked Thee: "Lord is it I?" showing thereby the depth of their humility. But what can I say to Thee when I fall and betray Thee seven times a day? Yet keep me Thyself, that I may not fall away utterly, but cry to Thee thankfully: Alleluia!
"As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except.it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit." Thus, working wonders Thou didst teach Thy beloved disciples on the way to Gethsemane. Therefore, attending to this instruction, and knowing the weakness of my nature without Thy grace, I earnestly cry to Thee:
Jesus, most heavenly Husbandman, do Thou Thyself plant me in Thy life-bearing garden. Jesus, true vine, graft me to Thyself like a wild branch; Jesus, unwithering root, fill me with the sap of eternal life; Jesus, Vanquisher of all mortality, clear away that which hath been dried up within me by the heat of the passions. Jesus, beautiful goodness, adorn me with the flowers of good thoughts and feelings; Jesus, rich in mercy, enrich me with the fruits of true repentance and righteousness. Jesus, God of my heart, come and unite me to Thyself forever.
To the disciple who at the supper leaned upon Thy breast and asked: "Who is it that betrayeth Thee?" Thou didst answer; "He it is to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it." And, having dipped the bread, Thou didst give it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to move him to repentance. But, being hardened by the spirit of malice, he had no desire to understand his Lord and Master's voice of love. May I be delivered by Thy grace from such hard-heartedness, by crying to Thee: Alleluia!
Taking pity on the weakness of our nature, which turneth away from eating human flesh, Thou wast well-pleased to bestow upon us Thine all-pure Body and Blood not manifestly, but under the appearance of Bread and Wine, most wisely ordering the whole matter of our salvation in Thy love for mankind, O Jesus, and accommodating Thy most saving Mysteries to the weakness of our comprehension and senses. Marvelling at this condescension of Thy wisdom to the weakness of our nature, I thankfully glorify Thee thus:
Jesus, Who in Thy wisdom and love for mankind arrangest all things for our salvation; Jesus, Who adaptest Thy most saving Mysteries to the weakness of our understanding and senses. Jesus, Who for the assurance of the doubting hast many times manifested Thy very Body and Blood at Thy holy Table, instead of bread and wine. Jesus, Who hast shown to worthy ministers of the altar the Holy Spirit descending for the consecration of the Gifts; Jesus, Who instead of unworthy ministers of the altar dost send invisibly Thy holy Angels. for the celebration of the Divine Mysteries. Jesus, Who through the manifestation of miracles at the holy Table, hast converted to faith many of the impious. Jesus, God of my heart, come and unite me to Thyself forever.
And after the sop - that is, after the traitor had eaten the bread Thou gavest him - as the holy John relateth, Satan entered into him. Oh, what a dreadful punishment for unbeliefl Oh, how unhappy the lot of the traitor! What should have been for his salvation is turned into death and damnation for him. Bowing reverently before this judgment of Thy righteousness, with fear and trembling I cry to Thee: Alleluia!
"Do this in remembrance of Me," didst Thou say to Thy disciples at the supper, giving them Thy Body under the appearance of Bread, and Thy Blood under the appearance of wine. For as often as we eat this bread, and drink this cup, we show forth Thy death, according to the word of the holy Paul. And now, remembering Thy Passion, with compunction I cry to Thee:
Jesus, Who for the salvation of the world didst give Thyself over voluntarily into the hands ofThine enemies; Jesus, Who didst not allow legions of angels to appear in Thy defense; Jesus, Who with a glance and with the crowing of a cock didst convert to repentance an unfaithful disciple; Jesus, Who didst make no reply to Caiaphas and Pilate who questioned Thee foolishly. Jesus, Who from the Cross didst ask the Father to forgive the sins of them that crucified Thee; Jesus, Who in Thy surpassing loving-kindness didst give Thy beloved disciple to Thy Mother as a son. Jesus, God of my heart, come and unite me to Thyself forever.
"Judas, betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss?" Thou didst sadly cry out to Thine unfaithful disciple, when he came with a detachment of troops into the Garden of Gethsemane seeking to betray Thee with a kiss. But even these poignant words did not strike his soul, hardened' in evil, with repentance. And, knowing the inconstancy of mine own will, 1 fear lest at any time 1, too, give thee the kiss of Judas, ungrateful as'I am. But do Thou Thyself strengthen me by Thy grace, that with the good thief I may ever cry out: Alleluia!
..I pray that they all may be one, as Thou. Father, art in Me and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe." Thus didst Thou exclaim in !Thy last great prayer to the Father. Following this, Thy voice most sweet, and trusting in the power of Thy prayer, with faith I cry to Thee:
Jesus, Who gatherest all together as one, unite us all inseparably with Thee and Thy Father; Jesus, grant that we all abide in oneness of mind, in faith and in love for Thee. Jesus, Who cannot abide enmity and division, destroy impious heresies and schisms; Jesus, Who lovest and hast mercy upon all, gather all the lost sheep into one flock. Jesus, Who guest peace to all, allay the envy and gainsaying among them that call upon Thy name; Jesus, Who givest me the Communion of Thy very Body and-Blood, may I be truly flesh of Thy Flesh and bone of Thy Bones. Jesus, God of my heart, come and unite me to Thyself forever.
Kontakion X By turning water into wine at the wedding supper in Cana of Galilee, Thou didst manifest the first sign of Thy divine power. Then, when about to depart to the Cross as the Bridegroom of souls, Thou didst manifest to them that believe in Thee the last miracle of Thy love, by changing bread into Thy Body; and wine into Thy Blood, and nurtured thereby unto life eternal, I, too, thankfully cry out to Thee: Alleluia!
On the day of Thy resurrection, accompanying in the guise of a traveller two of Thy disciples on the way to Emmaus, Thou didst instruct them in the mystery of Thy Passion; but their eyes were holden that they should not recognize Thee, though their hearts burned within them at the sweetness of Thy words. But when, bowing to their request, Thou didst go to tarry with them and, and having blessed the Bread, didst give It them, straightway their eyes were opened and they recognized Thee. Like those disciples, I, too, humbly make bold to raise my voice to Thee thus:
Jesus long-suffering, forsake me not on the path of life because of the insufficience of my faith. Jesus, teach me, like them, to understand the prophecies concerning Thee and the mystery of union with Thee by grace; Jesus, warm and inflame my cold heart, as Thou didst those of Thy disciples. Jesus all-good, abide also with me, for the day of my life is far spent and it is towards evening. Jesus, grant me to know thee truly in the present breaking of the mystical Bread and in drinking from the Chalice; Jesus, grant that even I, perceiving the power of Thy love, may become a proclaimer thereof to my brethren. Jesus, God of my heart, come and unite me to thyself forever.
To him that is victorious hast Thou promised to give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God, and of the hidden manna. May I be prepared on earth for this heavenly fare by the Communion of Thy Body and Blood, which as I now unworthily approach, I cry: Alleluia!
He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the Body and Blood of the Lord, the heaven-rapt Paul doth admonish them that approach for Communion. Wherefore, I, too, fear and tremble at mine unworthiness; yet lest, by separating myself for long from Thy Communion, I fall prey to the noetic wolf, I draw nigh to Thee with such a cry:
Jesus, receive me, as Thou didst recive the publican, the harlot and the thief Jesus, disdain not to enter under the roof of my soul, though it is all empty and fallen; Jesus, open the eyes of my soul, as thou didst open the eyes of the man that was blind from birth; Jesus, say to me too, as to the paralytic: Arise and walk; Jesus, stanch the flow of the impure desires of my soul as Thou dist stanch the flux of the woman with a issue of blood; Jesus, heal the leprosy of my soul and conscience. Jesus, God of my heart, come and unite me to Thyself forever.
Through the envy of the devil who spoke through the mouth of the serpent, and through the eating of the forbidden fruit, the whole human race lost paradise and was given over to death. But by tasting of Thy most pure Body and Blood all men are again vouchsafed eternal life and rise up to their former state. For the Communion of Thy life-creating Mysteries is an antidote against the venom of the serpent and is the seed of immortality. Wherefore, I thankfully cry out to Thee: Alleluia!
Lo! I stand before the vessel which holdeth Thy divine Mysteries, yet I put not away mine evil thoughts. Thine almighty grace alone doth hearten and draw me on. Wherefore casting myself into the -abyss of Thy loving-kindness, I cry out:
Jesus, Who callest all that labor and are heavy laden to rest in Thee, receive me, who labor under the vanity of this world. Jesus, Who didst come to call not the righteous, but sinners to repentance, absolve me of my sins and passions; Jesus, Who healest every infirmity and disease, heal Thou the wounds and festering of my soul. Jesus, Who didst satisfy the hungry, feed me with Thy Body and Blood; Jesus, Who didst raise the dead, quicken me who have been slain by my sins. Jesus, Conqueror of hell, rescue me from the jaws of the spirit of malice. Jesus, God of my heart, come and unite me to Thyself forever.
O Jesus most sweet and all-compassionate, Who dost ever descend like manna from heaven to nourish our souls and hearts in the mystery of Thy most pure Body and Blood: vouchsafe me to partake uncondemned of Thy Divine Mysteries, that, being healed, nurtured, sanctified and deified by Thee forever, I may thankfully cry: Alleluia!
(This last Kontakion is said three times, and then Ikos I and Kontakion I are read again.)