DEVOTIONS FOR HOLY COMMUNION FROM "THE GARDEN OF THE SOUL"
Commemorate the Passion of Christ
I desire, in these holy mysteries, to commemorate, as Thou hast commanded, all Thy sufferings : Thy agony and bloody sweat; Thy being betrayed and apprehended; all the reproaches and calumnies, all the scoffs and affronts, all the blows and buffets, Thou hast endured for me; Thy being scourged, crowned with thorns, and loaded with a heavy cross for my sins, and for those of the whole world; Thy Crucifixion and Death, together with Thy glorious Resurrection and triumphant Ascension. I adore Thee, and give Thee thanks for all that Thou hast done and suffered for us; and for giving us, in the most blessed Sacrament, this pledge of our redemption, this victim of our ransom, this Body and Blood which was offered for us.
Make an Act of Faith
I most firmly believe, O Jesus, that in this holy Sacrament Thou art present verily and indeed ; that here are Thy Body and Blood, Thy soul and Thy divinity. I believe that Thou, my Saviour, true God and true Man, art really here, with all Thy treasures; that here Thou communicatest Thyself to us, makest us partakers qf the fruit of Thy Passion, and givest us a pledge of eternal life. I believe there cannot be a greater happiness than to receive Thee worthily, nor a greater misery than to receive Thee unworthily. All this I most steadfastly believe, because it is what Thou hast taught us by Thy Church.
Make an Act of Contrition
O Lord, I detest, with my whole heart, all the sins by which I have offended Thy Divine Majesty, from the first moment that I was capable of sinning to this very hour; I desire to lay them all at Thy feet, to be cancelled by Thy precious Blood. Hear me, O Lord, by that infinite love by which Thou hast shed Thy Blood for me. O let not that Blood be shed in vain! I detest my sins, because they have offended Thy infinite goodness. By Thy grace I will never commit them any more. I am sorry for them, and will be sorry for them as long as I live, and, according to the best of my power, will do penance for them. Forgive me, dear Lord, for Thy mercy's sake; pardon me all that is past; and be Thou my keeper for the time to come, that I may never more offend Thee.
When the time comes to receive Holy Communion, join with the clerk in saying the Confiteor, and with the Priest when he says the Domine, non sum dignus. Approach the altar rails quietly and devoutly. At the moment you receive say: May the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve my soul to life everlasting. Amen.
After Communion, always spend at least a quarter of an hour in thanksgiving.
Acts of Devotion, Praise, and Thanksgiving
O Lord Jesus Christ, my Creator and my Redeemer, my God and my All, whence is this to me, that my Lord, and so great a Lord, whom heaven and earth cannot contain, should come into this poor dwelling, this house of clay of my earthly habitation. Bow down thyself, with all thy powers, O my soul, to adore the Sovereign Majesty which hath vouchsafed to come to visit thee ; pay Him the best homage thou art able, as to thy first beginning and thy last end; pour thyself forth in His presence in praises and thanksgiving, and invite all heaven and earth to join with thee in magnifying their Lord and thine for His mercy and bounty to thee.
What return shall I make to Thee, O Lord, for all Thou hast done for me? Behold, when I had no being at all, Thou didst create me; and when I was gone astray, and lost in my sins, Thou didst redeem me by dying for me. All that I have, all that I am, is Thy gift; and now, after all Thy other favours, Thou hast given me Thyself. Blessed be Thy name for ever. Thou art great, O Lord, and exceedingly to be praised : great are Thy works, and of Thy wisdom there is no end; but Thy tender mercies, Thy bounty and goodness to me, are above all Thy works. These I desire to confess and extol for ever.
Bless then, thy Lord, O my soul, and let all that is within thee praise and magnify His Name. Bless thy Lord, O my soul, and see thou never forget all that He hath done for thee. O all ye works of the Lord, bless the Lord, praise and glorify Him for ever. O all ye angels of the Lord, bless the Lord, praise and glorify His holy Name. Bless the Lord, all ye Saints, and let the whole Church of heaven and earth join in praising and giving Him thanks for all His mercies and graces to me, and so, in some measure, supply what is due from me. But as all this still falls short of what I owe Thee for Thy infinite love, I offer to Thee, O Eternal Father, the same Son of Thine whom Thou hast given me, and His Thanksgiving, which is infinite in value. Look not, then, upon my insensibility and ingratitude, but upon the face of Thy Christ, and with Him, and through Him, receive this offering of my poor self, which I desire to make to Thee.
Petitions after Communion
O most merciful Saviour, behold I have presumed to receive Thee this day into my house, relying on Thy infinite goodness and mercy, and hoping, like Zaccheus, to obtain Thy benediction. But, alas! with how little preparation, with how little devotion! From my heart I beg pardon for my great unworthiness, and for my innumerable sins, which I detest for the love of Thee. Thou seest, O Searcher of hearts, all my maladies, and all the wounds of my soul. Thou knowest how prone I am to evil, and how backward and sluggish to good. Who can heal all these my evils but Thou, the true Physician of my soul, who givest me Thy Body and Blood in this blessed Sacrament, as a sovereign medicine for all my infirmities? Dispel the darkness of ignorance from my understanding by Thy heavenly light; drive away the corruption and malice of my will by the fire of Divine love and charity; strengthen my weakness with heavenly fortitude; subdue in me all evil passions, particularly that which is most deeply rooted in me; stand by me henceforward in all my temptations, that I may never more be overcome; and grant me that I may rather die a thousand deaths than live to offend Thee mortally.
O my Jesus, Thou art infinitely rich, and all the treasures of Divine grace are locked up in Thee! These treasures Thou bringest with Thee when Thou dost visit us in this blessed Sacrament, and Thou takest an infinite pleasure in opening them to us to enrich our poverty. This it is that gives me confidence to present Thee now with my petitions, and to beg of Thee those graces and virtues which I stand so much in need of. Oh, increase and strengthen my belief of Thy heavenly truths, and grant that henceforward I may ever live by faith, and be guided by the maxims of Thy Gospel. Teach me to be poor in spirit, and take off my heart from the love of these transitory things, and fix it upon eternity: teach me, by Thy Divine example, and by Thy most efficacious grace, to be meek and humble of heart, and in my patience to possess my soul. Grant that I may ever keep my body and soul chaste and pure; that I may ever bewail my past sins, and by a daily mortification, restrain all irregular inclinations and passions for the future. Teach me to love Thee, to be ever recollected in Thee, and to walk always in Thy presence; teach me to love my friends in Thee, and my enemies for Thee; grant me grace to persevere to the end in this love, and so to come one day to that blessed place where I may love and enjoy Thee for ever.
Have mercy also on my parents, friends, and benefactors, and on all those for whom I am bound to pray, that we may all love Thee and faithfully serve Thee. Have mercy on Thy whole Church, especially on the clergy and religious men and women, that all may live up to their callings and sanctify Thy Name. Give Thy grace and blessing to all princes and magistrates, and to all Christian people; convert all unbelievers and sinners, and bring all strayed sheep back to Thy fold; particularly have mercy on N. and N. etc.
O Blessed Virgin, Mother of my God and Saviour, recommend all these my petitions to your Son. O all ye Angels and Saints, citizens of heaven, unite your prayers with mine; you ever stand before the throne, and see Him face to face whom I here receive hidden under the sacramental veil; be ever mindful of me, and obtain from Him, and through Him, that with you I may bless Him and love Him for ever. Amen.
PRAYER BEFORE A CRUCIFIX
Behold, O kind and most sweet Jesus, I cast myself upon my knees in Thy sight, and with the most fervent desire of my soul I pray and beseech Thee that Thou wouldst impress upon my heart lively sentiments of faith, hope, and charity, with true repentance for my sins, and a firm desire of amendment, whilst with deep affection and grief of soul I ponder within myself, and mentally contemplate Thy five most precious wounds ; having before my eyes that which David spake in prophecy: "They pierced My hands and My feet; they have numbered all My bones."