Fr. Peter J. Elliott.
A.C.T.S. No 1741 (1981)
THE WORDS OF POPE JOHN PAUL II.
". . . But the Church is not brought into being only through the union of people, through the experience of brotherhood to which the Eucharistic banquet gives rise. The Church is brought into being when, in that fraternal union and communion, we celebrate the Sacrifice of the Cross of Christ, when we proclaim "the Lord's death until he comes", (1 Corinthians 11:26) and later, when, being deeply com-penetrated with the mystery of our salvation, we approach as a community the table of the Lord, in order to be nourished there, in a sacramental manner, by the fruits of the Holy Sacrifice of propitiation. Therefore in Eucharistic Communion we receive Christ, Christ himself; and our union with him, which is a gift and grace for each individual, brings it about that in him we are also associated in the unity of his Body which is the Church".
To put his eucharistic teaching into practice, the Holy Father authorized an "Instruction on certain norms concerning worship of the Eucharist Mystery", Inaestimabile Donum, April 17th, 1980. This instruction included the following:
"The faithful are to be recommended not to omit to make a proper thanksgiving after Communion. They may do this during the celebration, with a period of silence, with a hymn, psalm or other song of praise, or also after the celebration, if possible by staying behind to pray for a suitable time". (paragraph. 17)
Receiving our Lord Jesus Christ in the holy Eucharist is the central moment in our lives. He gives us himself, and in this giving, he receives us. Sharing his divine life, in this intimate union, Holy Communion, we need to pray, to pray well, personally, sincerely, honestly. This booklet is an aid to eucharistic prayer.
A series of preparations and thanksgivings is provided here, not to take the place of prayer which is in our own words, but to help that prayer. The preparations and thanksgivings draw on different sources, using different themes, especially developed to blend into the community and personal aspects of the Liturgy today. A short aspiration is suggested, "On the way to the altar", to be offered silently during the Communion procession. To the series of preparations and thanksgivings has been added a collection of familiar prayers to supplement the other devotions (Section 10).
This booklet is dedicated to the memory of Father John E. Perkins, the author of several A.C.T.S. collections of prayers for Holy Communion. It incorporates some of his prayers.
1. THE WORDS OF SCRIPTURE
I listen to you, Lord Jesus:
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me . . ."
"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God."
You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!
I praise and thank you, Lord Jesus:
"Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power, and wealth and wisdom and might and honour and glory and blessing!"
"For you were slain and by your blood did ransom men for God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth."
". . . he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal Life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed. and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me . . .
"Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God. he who is coming into the world."
"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
You may read John 20:24-29: Our Lord appears to St Thomas.
My Lord and my God, I believe that you are really here, beneath what appears as bread and wine. I believe, Lord Jesus. Deepen my faith in you.
My Lord and my God, I am sorry for my sins. I know that I can never be worthy of this gift of yourself, yet you call me, you welcome me, you join me to yourself in this sacrament of peace.
My Lord and my God, I want to receive you. I know that I need you, for without you I can do nothing. Lord Jesus, strengthen my will to receive you.
My Lord and my God, I trust in you. As I approach this sacrament of love, drive far from me the cares, worries and distractions of life, but let me bring you the needs of my life. Let me place those needs in your heart, in confidence, in courage, in trust.
"I am not like Thomas, wounds I cannot see,
But can plainly call you, Lord and God as he:
Let me to a deeper faith daily nearer move,
Daily make me harder hope and dearer love."
Jesus! My Lord and my God!
"Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe." Yes, Lord Jesus, blessed indeed are we, not seeing with our eyes, with earthly vision, but with faith:
I thank you, my Lord and my God for coming to me.
I thank you for all you have done for me, especially for your glorious Resurrection. You are the risen Lord, conqueror of death, Master of life undying. You are the living Bread, food for our resurrection, nourishment for eternal life
You came among your disciples, risen and glorious, in our flesh.
To them you said. "Peace be with you!"
You come among us today. risen and glorious, in our flesh, yet hidden in a sacrament.
To us you say "Peace be with you!"
Lord Jesus. speak to us of peace Plant this peace within our hearts. I pray for those who need peace, especially . . .
The doors were shut in that room, but that did not keep you out.
You stood among them. You brought them peace. Today we long for such inner peace Lord, I believe it is only found in you.
"Seeing, touching, tasting are in thee deceived:
How says trusty hearing? that shall be believed;
What God's Son has told me, take for truth I do;
Truth himself speaks truly or there's nothing true."
"Christ left to his followers a pledge of this hope and food for the journey in the sacrament of faith, in which natural elements, the fruits of man's cultivation, are changed into His glorified Body and Blood, as a supper of brotherly fellowship and a foretaste of the heavenly banquet."
In the words of the early Church, I pray: "As this broken bread was once grain scattered over the hills, and then, when gathered, became one mass, so may your Church be gathered from the ends of the earth into your Kingdom. For the glory and the power is yours, through Jesus Christ, for evermore. Amen."
On the way to the altar
"We who are many are one . . .
May we all be one, Lord Jesus.
Heavenly Father, you have invited your children to your table. So many of us today have received and eaten the Body of Christ your Son. We now share his life more fully. We are members of his body, "flesh of his flesh, bone of his bone."
We are not now isolated individuals. Each of us, with his or her own personality, is a cell in the Body of Christ, your Son and our Brother; each of us has a part to play, a function to perform, for the health and life and work of the Body.
As cells, we share the life of the Body, the life of Christ our Head; and we depend on one another.
With these people here in the Church I am to live and work for the building up of the Body of Christ in this parish, in this diocese, in the whole world.
We should not then be as strangers; for we are the people of God, members of Christ and of one another. Help us then, Jesus, to realize our unity in you. Enlighten us as to our common responsibilities and opportunities.
Inspire us to work with you and for you, to work with our priests and with one another - to provide Catholic education for all the children of the parish and of the diocese - to help our youth develop towards a Christian maturity - to assist anyone in any kind of need or distress - to make you, Lord, better known and loved in this our city - to give glory to the Father in our community worship as we offer together the Holy Mass.
Grant, Lord Jesus, that through you we may be "drawn day by day into ever more perfect union with God and with each other, so that finally God may be all in all."
(Receiving the Lord in Holy Communion is the best way to share in the offering of the Sacrifice of the Mass. We are united to Christ, offering himself to the Father, in the power of the Spirit. We offer ourselves in Christ to the Father.)
Lord Jesus, as we receive you, so you receive us. You unite us to yourself. I know that I am not worthy, for my sins are many. I know that I have no power of my own to give myself up to the Father. I know that I have nothing worthy to offer the Father - but receive me, Lord, receive me to yourself. Clothe me in the new life of Grace. Renew me in the holy Spirit. Re-awaken the baptismal faith, planted deep within my heart.
Cleanse me from my sins and free me from my weakness. Receive me, Lord.
Father, as we are united to your Son, "May he make us an everlasting gift to you and enable us to share in the inheritance of your saints."
See; I come to do your will,
Receive me, Lord, as I receive you.
United to your Son, I offer myself to you, most loving Father. I offer my life, my body and soul, my gifts, my strength and weakness. All this I offer to you. Father, I renew in this self-offering the four great purposes of the eucharistic Sacrifice of your Son, our compassionate High Priest.
Lord Jesus Christ, by the union between us in the Eucharist,
Lord Jesus Christ, in confidence I join all the members of your one Body as together, in you and through you, we come to the throne of mercy. For, ". . . we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way which he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water . . ."
This is the intention of my heart.
In gratitude for all you give me, let me show the meaning of your sacrifice in my daily life. "Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God."
5. FROM THE LITURGIES
I believe, Lord, and profess that in truth you are the Christ, the Son
of the living God, come into this world to save sinners, of whom I am the
greatest. I also believe that this is really your sacred Body and that
this is really your precious Blood. So I beseech you, have mercy on me
and pardon my offences, deliberate or not, in word and deed, remembered
and long-forgotten. Grant that without condemnation I may share your sacred
mysteries, for the remission of sins and for eternal life.
Receive me, this day, Son of God, to eat your sacramental supper, for I will not betray the sacrament to your enemies, nor give you a kiss like Judas, but like the thief, I will acknowledge you with the words: Remember me, Lord, When you come into your kingdom.
May this sharing in your holy mysteries, Lord, be for me not for judgement or damnation, but for the healing of my soul and body.
On the way to the altar
Holy things for holy people . . .
O Lord our God, we thank you for this sharing in your holy, perfect, immortal and most heavenly mysteries, which you have given us for the health, holiness and healing of our souls and bodies. Master of all creation, grant that the Communion of the holy Body and Blood of your Christ may build up in us a faith which cannot be destroyed, a love without pretence, a wisdom which is complete, healing for our souls and bodies, the driving away of all our foes, a full observance of your commandments and may this Communion be the perfect pleading of our cause before the judgement seat of your Christ.
O Christ, our God. the mystery of your covenant has been accomplished
and perfected, as far as it was in our power, for we have celebrated the
memorial of your death, we have seen the outward sign of your resurrection,
we have been filled with your unending life, we have delighted in your
inexhaustible joy - so may you be pleased to grant all this to us also
in the world to come: we ask this through the grace of your eternal Father
and your holy, gracious and life-giving Spirit, now and for ever.
Lord, I approach, the omnipotence of the Father that I may be made strong; the wisdom of the Son, that I may be enlightened; the kindness of the Holy Spirit, that I may be filled with gentleness.
Lord, I confess that I am not worthy, according to my merits, to receive the least of your gifts; yet, I ask you, through the merits and intentions of the community around me to pierce my heart with the arrow of your love.
Make us holy, as you are holy, Lord.
Father, as much as I can, I desire to praise you. In union with all the praises which Christ our Lord offered you in everything he did, I desire to do everything for your honour, for the love of you. In union with the generosity with which Christ took our human nature and suffered death with joy, in union with that endless love with which, giving thanks to you, he gave us this greatest of gifts, I wish to give you the greatest thanks I can throughout this day for such a Sacrament.
I wish to renew the holy desires of my heart so that it may never seem empty of the divine Presence within me.
Oh my Jesus, that I might spend all my life for you, for you have spent all your life for me!
Sacred Heart of Jesus, burning with everlasting love, I come to you to share this fire, this warmth. Help me to hear your invitation:
"Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Unworthy, a sinner seeking your mercy, I come to you, Lord. Give me the living waters of sacramental life and grace, for you have called to us, saying, "if any one thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, 'Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water'."
Jesus, gentle and lowly in heart, by this Eucharist make our hearts like your heart.
On the way to the altar
All for you, Heart of Jesus.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Lord Jesus Christ, I welcome you. I adore you. I thank you for drawing me to yourself in this holy Eucharist. Receive me, Lord, as I receive you.
Most loving heart of Jesus, our human hearts are restless, until they rest in you. Give me your peace and serenity, that amidst all the changes of this passing world I may set my heart in your peace.
Most strong Heart of Jesus, I place my weakness in your strength. Give me your strength, that I may spend my life for you in serving others.
Most generous Heart of Jesus, teach me to give myself. Give me your grace to live your new commandment, "Love one another as I have loved you!"
Most patient Heart of Jesus, in this sacrament of love, take from me impatience and anxiety. Give me your patience. Let me learn in the school of your humility and so build up the family of your Church, that as one of your faithful people I may wait with joy for the coming of your kingdom. Blessed, praised and hallowed, be Jesus Christ, in his throne of glory, and in the most holy Sacrament of the altar!
Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, I receive you into my heart in reparation for all the offences, insults, blasphemies and neglect by which you are offended in this world. In regret for any sins of mine, I unite my act of reparation with your all-powerful reparation in this holy Sacrifice.
"I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart, that my all-powerful love will give the grace of final perseverance to all those who receive Communion on the first Friday of every month for nine consecutive months; they shall not die under my displeasure, nor without receiving the sacraments, and my Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge at that last hour."
In union with your blessed Mother, I come to receive you, Lord Jesus.
Help me to share in her faith, her obedience and her commitment to your will.
I am sorry for my sins. As I pray with Mary Immaculate, forgive me, Lord. I place my trust in you. As I pray with the faithful Virgin, deepen my faith.
I know I am not worthy. As I pray with your humble Mother, give me confidence.
Mary, blessed ever-virgin, lead me to your Son. Always you point to him, drawing us to him, guiding us on his way. Help me to welcome him in the Eucharist, as you welcomed him at Nazareth.
Mother of the Church, see us, your children, gathered around this altar. Cast your mantle of prayer and protection around us, as, once more, we enter the "upper room", as, once more, we ascend, with you, to Calvary, as, once more, we rejoice, with you, in the risen Christ. Be with us as we prepare to taste on earth the delights of heaven, feasting in this "supper of the Lamb", Jesus our joy, our sorrow and our glory.
On the way to the altar
Behold, I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be to me, according to your word.
Blessed, praised and hallowed be Jesus Christ, in his throne of glory, and in this most holy Sacrament of the altar! Lord, Mary is that throne of glory. Make my soul, my body, my whole person a worthy throne for your real presence Like Mary, help me to show you to the world, to give you to others, to share you with all the people I meet.
In union with your blessed Mother, I thank you, Lord. In union with her Immaculate Heart, I offer you all the prayer and penance of my daily life In union with her I rejoice in you, my God and my Saviour. You are the mighty one and you have done great things for me. Holy is your name! You have filled the hungry with good things, even your Body and Blood. You have exalted the lowly, cast down the mighty and proud, and your mercy extends to all ages, from generation to generation. Holy is your name!
Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, pray for us, that we may know and love your Son, more and more, in the holy Eucharist.
"He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love."
God, almighty and everlasting, see, I approach the Sacrament of your only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. I come to the Sacrament as one sick, coming to a physician who can save life, as one unclean to a fountain of mercy, as one blind to the radiance of light eternal, as one poor and needy to the Lord of heaven and earth. I pray that in your boundless generosity you will cure my sickness, wash me clean, pierce my blindness with light, enrich my poverty and clothe my nakedness.
May this Bread of Angels, the King of kings and Lord of lords, be received by me with such humble reverence and devout contrition, with such faith and purity and with such good resolutions as to help the salvation of my soul. Give me the grace, I ask you, to receive not only the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of our Lord, but also its inner power and effect. God, all-gentle, grant that as I receive that Body, taken from the womb of Mary the Virgin by your only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, so I may be formed worthily as part of his Mystical Body and numbered among its members.
Most loving Father, grant that your beloved Son, whom I, a pilgrim on earth, am about to receive in a Sacrament, may one day admit me to the vision of his face, there to gaze upon him for all eternity, on him, God, living and reigning with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever.
On the way to the altar
"Come, make each one of us your chosen guest".
Holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God, I thank you because you have allowed me to feast on the precious Body and Blood of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ - you have allowed me to feast, your sinful and unworthy servant, not for any merit of mine, but only through your merciful goodness. Far from condemning me to punishment, I pray that this Holy Communion may bring about my pardon and salvation, surrounding me with the armour of faith and the shield of good will. By this Holy Communion let my vices be destroyed and all my impure desires extinguished.
May this Holy Communion help me to grow in charity, patience, humility, obedience and every other virtue. Let it be my strong defence against all the schemes of my enemies, visible and invisible, freeing me from disturbance of flesh or spirit, binding me firmly to you, the one true God, and bringing my last hour to a joyous close.
I also pray, that you may be pleased one day to call my sinful self to that banquet, more wonderful than words can express, that banquet where you, with your Son and the Holy Spirit, feast your saints with the vision of yourself, who are true light, the fulfilment of all our desires, the joy without end, perfect gladness and bliss. I ask this, through Christ our Lord.
"Concealed beneath this twofold sign,
Fit symbols of the gifts divine,
There lie the mysteries adored:
His living Body is our food;
Our drink his ever-precious Blood,
In each, one undivided Lord".
Prayer Before a Crucifix
My good and dearest Jesus, before you I kneel, beseeching and praying with all the ardour of my soul, that you would engrave, deep in my heart, a living sense of faith, hope and love, true contrition for my sins, and a most firm resolve to change my ways.
At the same time, with great love and sorrow, I contemplate your wounds, having before my eyes, those words which David the prophet long ago put into your mouth, concerning yourself, good Jesus, "They have pierced my hands and my feet; they have numbered all my bones."
"On Fridays in Lent and the Passion Season a Plenary Indulgence may be gained by the faithful who recite the above prayer, after Communion, devoutly before an image of Jesus Christ crucified. On other days of the year, the indulgence will be partial".
O Sacrum Convivium
O Sacred Banquet, in which Christ is received,
the memory of his Passion is renewed,
the mind is filled with Grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.
Soul of Christ, make me holy,
Body of Christ, save me,
Blood of Christ, fill me with living power,
Water from the side of Christ, wash me clean.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O Good Jesus, hear me,
Within your wounds hide me,
Never let me be separated from you.
From the evil enemy defend me.
At the hour of death call me,
And command me then to come to you,
that with your saints I may praise you for all eternity.
Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous.
To serve you as you deserve to be served,
To give, and not to count the cost.
To fight. and not to heed the wounds,
To work, and not to seek for rest,
To toil, and not to ask for any reward,
Save that of knowing that I do your holy Will.
As your arms, O Christ, were extended on the Cross;
even so receive me into the arms of your mercy
and blot out all my sins with your Precious Blood.
My God, I am all yours, for time and for eternity.
Teach me to cast myself entirely into the arms of your loving providence with the most lively and unlimited confidence in your compassionate tender pity.
Grant, O most merciful Redeemer, that whatever you ordain or permit may always be acceptable to me.
Take from my heart all painful anxiety; suffer nothing to sadden me but sin, nothing to delight me but the hope of coming to the possession of you, my Lord and my God and my all, in your everlasting kingdom.
A Prayer of St Francis of Assisi
In the words of the saint who lived for others, ask Jesus living
in you to make you more like him, turning from self to others,
living the Eucharist day by day.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith,
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Prayer for Priests
O almighty and eternal God, look upon the face of your Christ, and for the love of him who is the eternal High Priest, have pity on your priests. Remember, most compassionate God, that they are but weak and frail human beings. Stir up in them the grace of their vocation, which is in them by the laying-on of the Bishop's hands. Keep them close to you, lest the enemy prevail against them, so that they may never do anything in the slightest degree unworthy of their sublime vocation.
O Jesus, I pray to you for your faithful and fervent priests; for your unfaithful and luke-warm priests; for your priests working hard at home or overseas in distant mission fields; for your tempted priests; for your lonely and desolate priests; for your young priests; for your aged priests; for your sick priests; for your dying priests; for the souls of your priests in purgatory.
But above all, I commend to you the priests dearest to me: the priest
who baptized me;
the priests who absolved me from my sins; the priests at whose Masses I assisted
and who have given me your Body and Blood in Holy Communion;
the priests who taught and instructed me or helped me or encouraged me;
all the priests to whom I am indebted in any other way, particularly . . .
O Jesus, keep them close to your Heart, and bless them abundantly in
time and in eternity.
Lord, give us priests, more priests, holy priests, men with open hearts, strong wills, men ever generous in the service of your people.
Lord, guide me in my own life. Help me to discover your plans for me.
Strengthen me always to do your will, to follow your chosen way.
A PRAYER TO OUR LADY
AFTER HOLY COMMUNION
". . . she prompts the faithful to come to her Son, to his sacrifice and to the love of the Father".
Mary, Mother of Jesus and my Mother, at this moment when I am so closely united to him, help me to give him the love and worship that are his due.
On behalf of all your children who have received Holy Communion here today, offer to him the praises of your lips, the love of your heart and the adoration of your being, so wonderfully endowed with grace and glory.
Through this Communion, dear Mother, may you come to see Jesus more clearly in me.
As you knew him so intimately in his earthly life, and as you know him so wonderfully in glory, teach me to know him better; inspire and help me to become more like him in my thoughts, in my desires, in my life.
Thus, I hope, you will not only see him living in me, but you will see in me, your spiritual child, the image of your natural Son who was, and is, the joy of your life.
Teach me, then, to love him, encourage me to serve him, strengthen me to work for him, inspire me to live for him.
May he be for me, as he was for you - my God and my all.
For a Happy Death
Oh, my Lord and Saviour, support me in that hour in the strong arms
of Thy Sacraments, and by the fresh fragrance of Thy consolations. Let
the absolving words be said over me, and the holy oil sign and seal me,
and Thy own Body be my food, and Thy Blood my sprinkling; and let my sweet
Mother, Mary, breathe on me, and my Angel whisper peace to me, and my glorious
Saints . . . smile upon me; that in them all, and through them all, I may
receive the gift of perseverance, and die, as I desire to live, in Thy
faith, in Thy Church, in Thy service and in Thy love.
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