One may hear of the need to prepare for Holy Communion, but wonder how. Besides the obvious — be in a state of grace — or the many beautiful prayers written to help prepare a soul for Communion, one should study the Mass. Holy Mass contains within it the means for proper preparation and efficacious reception of its end, the Eucharist. The faithful are encouraged to assist — not merely attend — Mass that they may prepare well for Communion and offer fitting thanksgiving. A look at Mass parts reveals the great wisdom of Holy Mother Church and the love of God who became man so that He could offer His body as food.
The Mass can be divided into parts that each encourage different movements in the soul: from the Entrance Antiphon to the Collect, contrition; from the Collect to the Profession of Faith, faith; in the Eucharistic Prayer, hope; at Communion, love; from the Communion Antiphon through the prayer after Communion, gratitude. (Or, for traditional Latin Mass goers: Introit to the Collects, contrition; Collects to Credo, faith; in the Canon, hope; at Communion, love; ablutions to the end, gratitude.) These are not strict boundaries, but suggestions to help one more actively participate, or assist, at Holy Mass and to receive the Eucharist with great effect. The hopeful man, for example, should receive nourishment in both the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
If one is to receive nourishment through Mass, he must be attentive and intentional, not a passive observer. Mass attendance is not a spectator sport. The point in drawing attention to the parts of the Mass above and corresponding spiritual movements is to highlight the fact that the Mass is not haphazard — it is carefully constructed to prepare one for communion with his Creator. A man need not be advanced in learning to receive nourishment from the Eucharist, but he should learn the Mass that he may more fully enter into the mystery of faith.