An Orthodox at the Liturgy - Archbishop Paul of Finland

(The following is taken from the book, "Feast of Faith:  An Invitation to the Love Feast of the Kingdom of God," published by St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1988, pp. 107-108).
At the Liturgy, when you see others going to Communion, do not join the group just because you do not want to look different from the others.  Going to Communion always implies that you wish to do so, and that you have already made the decision before going to Church.
Let it be evident in some way in your life that you have this desire and longing, to take part in Communion.
Think about going to Communion before the morning when you go to Church.  Pray for a right disposition, especially for the grace of repentance, so that before Communion you may sincerely confess yourself to be "the first of sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15 and Prayer of St. John Chrysostom prior to Communion).
As you prepare your spirit, prepare your body also, fasting completely on the morning of your Communion, not eating or drinking anything.  It is also good, if you are able, to do without the evening meal the night before.  When you feel uncomfortable from doing this, transform your hunger to spiritual hunger and thirst, and wait to be satisfied at the Eucharist and Holy Communion (Commonly the faithful fast from midnight until the end of the morning Liturgy).
Before Communion, as you read your evening and morning prayers, add one or more extra prayers.  The Liturgy itself contains a preparation for Communion, but it is important also to prepare yourself personally in your own place of prayer.
The Apostle gives clear instructions about this.  He says to those preparing for Communion:  "Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup."
And again he warns:  "Whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord"  (1 Corinthians 11:28-29, 27).  Of what does this self-examination consist?
If a serious sin is weighing upon you, go first to Confession and only then, with your father confessor's blessing, go to Communion also.    
If you simply feel unworthy in every respect, do not hesitate (to approach the Chalice).  Holy Communion is precisely for such people.  It is not for those who approach the Holy Cup with self-satisfaction.  Indeed Holy Communion is given "for the remission of sins and unto life everlasting."
Of course the self-examination of which the Apostle spoke is not limited only to preparation for Communion -- in fact one always means to go to Communion.  Self-examination is the ongoing process of checking the direction of one's life.  Am I moving towards God or away from Him?  What is my attitude towards my neighbors?  Do I offend them?  Do I wrong them?  Is there Christian love in me or only pious superficiality?
If you notice something in yourself which needs correcting, but you do not succeed in this right away, do not be depressed about it or abstain from Communion, as long as you are repentant of your weakness.  Will He who commanded us to forgive, "seventy times seven times" not forgive you if you sincerely repent? (Matthew 18:22).
The faith that participation in the Holy Body and Blood of Christ will give you strength will be realized in the improvements which you make.  The Apostle gives comfort and hope, saying:  "It is God who works in you both to will and to work"  (Philippians 2:13). And God works in you when you are sufficiently humbled and call on Him for help.   
*  (His Beatitude, the Most Reverend Archbishop Paul (Olmari) was the primate of the Church of Finland 1960 to 1987.  A charismatic and deeply spiritual person, he worked fervently in the development of the liturgical life of the Finnish Church.  The Archbishop also placed much attention on the development of New Valaam Monastery as a functioning monastery as well as the site of an Orthodox Culture and Research Institute.  He wrote a number of books on Orthodoxy and Orthodox life.  In 1967, he was honored by the Theological Faculty of the University of Helsinki with an honorary doctorate.  Archbishop Paul retired in 1987 and was succeeded by Archbishop John (Rinne).  On February 12, 1988, he reposed and was buried in the cemetery of New Valaam Monastery.  From