Before we start

May I recommend, before we start, that you take a little time to read through the texts I’ve provided for each of the (very short) sections of the Eucharist. If you can, imagine yourself doing what each section describes, so that when you come to do it, it’ll make more sense to you.

Given how important it can be, as we find ourselves in confinement, to give ourselves a sense of structure: I suggest that you imagine beforehand how much time you’d like to allow for praying eucharistically. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, one hour. Then I would suggest that you consider how you’d like to divide that hour. For instance, some of you are practitioners of Christian Meditation, Centring Prayer, Focusing, or similar practices. You may find it helpful to begin with a timed meditation. Or some of you might prefer a more contemplative period after the homily as you meditate on the Word. Or some may prefer a time of meditation and thanksgiving at the end, after consuming the gifts, and before praying the final prayer. Others may just prefer to pray their way slowly, and without any long pause, through the entire ritual.

Then again, some of you will accompany this prayer with music – either because you sing yourself, or because you have access to recorded music which helps you worship. Certainly there are abundant online renderings of the Kyrie, the Gloria, the Sanctus, and the Agnus Dei, from the mediaeval, through the classical, to the modern periods. And some of these can be quite long! So, work out, before you start, whether you want a 40-minute Kyrie and Gloria, or something a little more succinct!

I would suggest that you prepare your access to the pieces you want to hear before you start, so that you are easily able to turn them on and off at just the right time, and thus keep within the rhythm of your prayer.

In short: please feel free to take advantage of what I’m offering to help give yourself a structure. But don’t be bound by it!

As to practical matters, I would recommend your preparing a small table with a white cloth or napkin, as your altar. If you have them, put a candle on the edge of the mantle, and a crucifix facing you from the farthest edge of the mantle. Choose the cup and plate you will be using. Put beside the mantle your bottle of wine (or equivalent), a piece of bread (if that is what you are going to use), a container of water, and a small bowl to receive water. A couple of napkins would be good as well, paper ones if you prefer. I’ll explain in a short video how all these are to be used.

When it comes to praying, please feel free to pray standing, or sitting, or in whatever position you find most helpful, as your health allows. My late friend Sebastian Moore, a Benedictine monk, always quoted the advice given by his old abbot, Abbot Chapman: “Pray as you can, not as you can’t.” OK – Thank you for taking part!