Project Canterbury

From The Works of the Rt. Rev. Charles C. Grafton (Volume 6),
edited by B. Talbot Rogers, New York: Longmans, Green, 1914, pp. 40-48

Plain Suggestions for a Reverent Celebration of the Holy Communion

by Bishop Charles Chapman Grafton

Chapter VIII

Preparation and Thanksgiving

IT is the custom of many devout priests to say an office of preparation immediately before vesting for the celebration. This habit is recommended. The few minutes spent quietly before the altar will be found most helpful as a means of recollection. The thought of his own unworthiness and the dignity of his high calling will help to prepare the priest for the accomplishment of his Master’s command, "Do this." For such a purpose the following devotions are often used.


I will fear no evil

. PSALM 84

O how amiable are Thy dwellings: Thou Lord of hosts!

My soul hath a desire and longing to enter into the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God.

Yea, the sparrow hath found her an house, and the swallow a nest, where she may lay her young: even Thy altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.

Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house: they will be alway praising Thee.

Blessed is the man whose strength is in Thee: in whose heart are Thy ways.

Who going through the vale of misery use it for a well: and the pools are filled with water.

They will go from strength to strength: and unto the God of gods appeareth every one of them in Sion.

O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer: hearken, O God of Jacob.

Behold, O God our defender: and look upon the face of Thine anointed.

For one day in Thy courts: is better than a thousand.

I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God: than to dwell in the tents of ungodliness.

For the Lord God is a light and defence: the Lord will give grace and worship, and no good thing shall He withhold from them that live a godly life.

O Lord God of hosts: blessed is the man that putteth his trust in Thee.

Glory be to the Father, etc.

I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me. Thou hast prepared a table before me against them that trouble me: Thou hast anointed my head with oil, and my cup shall be full.

In Penitential Seasons

Remember not, Lord, etc. PSALM 130

Out of the deep have I called unto Thee, O Lord: Lord, hear my voice.

O let Thine ears consider well: the voice of my complaint.

If Thou, Lord, wilt be extreme to mark what is done amiss: O Lord, who may abide it?

For there is mercy with Thee: therefore shalt Thou be feared.

I look for the Lord; my soul doth wait for Him: in His word is my trust.

My soul fleeth unto the Lord: before the morning watch, I say, before the morning watch.

O Israel, trust in the Lord, for with the Lord there is mercy: and with Him is plenteous redemption.

And He shall redeem Israel: from all his sins.

Glory be to the Father, etc.

Remember not, Lord, our offences, nor the offences of our forefathers; neither take Thou vengeance of our sins.

Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.

Our Father, etc.

I said, Lord, have mercy upon me:
Heal my soul, for I have sinned against Thee.

Turn us then, O God our Saviour:
And let Thine anger cease from us.

O Lord, let Thy mercy be showed upon us:
As we do put our trust in Thee.

Let Thy priests be clothed with righteousness:
And let Thy saints sing with joyfulness.

Cleanse Thou me from my secret faults:
Keep Thy servant also from presumptuous sins.

Lord, hear my prayer:
And let my cry come unto Thee.

May the fire of the Holy Spirit, O Lord, cleanse our hearts and reins, that we may serve Thee with a chaste body and pure heart; through Jesus Christ. Amen.

O Lord, we beseech Thee, visit and cleanse our consciences, that Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, may, when He cometh, find in us a dwelling-place prepared for Him, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Almighty, Everlasting God, lo! I draw near to the sacrament of Thy only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. I come sick to the Physician of life, unclean to the Fountain of mercy, blind to the Light of eternal brightness, poor and needy to the Lord of all things. I pray Thee, therefore, to wash my defilements, to enlighten my blindness, to enrich my poverty, to clothe my nakedness; that I may receive the true Bread of Angels, the King of kings and Lord of lords, with a humble, lowly, and contrite heart, with a lively faith in Thy mercy, and a pure desire to do Thy will. Grant, I beseech Thee, that I may receive not only the sacrament of the true body and blood of our Lord, but also the full benefit of the sacrament. O most gracious God, grant me so to receive the body of Thy only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, that I may be made perfectly one with His holy body the Church. O most loving Father, grant unto me that, as I desire here to receive Him veiled from sight, so I may hereafter behold Him face to face, where with Thee, O Father, and Thee, O Holy Ghost, He liveth and reigneth, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

The grace of our Lord, etc.

As silent communing with God is useful before celebrating the divine mysteries, so it will be found helpful after the service is finished and the vestments have been removed. Again to approach the altar and in silence to meditate upon the great thing which God has wrought by the hand of His minister will increase humility and gratitude. The unseemly haste with which both priest and people so frequently leave the house of God at the conclusion of a service is hardly suggestive of love for His habitation, the place where His honour dwelleth. The sight of the priest returning to the altar to make his thanksgiving is certain to have its effect upon his people, and soon they will be seen to linger on their knees in grateful homage for the Bread of Angels which they have received. The following office of thanksgiving is suggested as one in common use.


To be Said in Church or during the Day

Let us sing the Song of the Three Children:

O all ye Works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise Him, and magnify Him forever.

O ye Angels of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise Him, and magnify Him forever.

O ye Children of Men, bless ye the Lord: praise Him, and magnify Him forever.

O let Israel bless the Lord: praise Him, and magnify Him forever.

O ye Priests of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise Him, and magnify Him forever.

O ye Servants of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise Him, and magnify Him forever.

O ye Spirits and Souls of the Righteous, bless ye the Lord: praise Him, and magnify Him forever.

O ye holy and humble Men of heart, bless ye the Lord: praise Him, and magnify Him forever.

O Ananias, Azarias, and Misael, bless ye the Lord: praise Him, and magnify Him forever.

Glory be to the Father, etc.

PSALM 150.

Laudate Dominum

O praise God in His holiness: praise Him in the firmament of His power.

Praise Him in His noble acts: praise Him according to His excellent greatness.

Praise Him in the sound of the trumpet: praise Him upon the lute and harp.

Praise Him in the cymbals and dances: praise Him upon the strings and pipe.

Praise Him upon the well-tuned cymbals: praise Him upon the loud cymbals.

Let everything that hath breath: praise the Lord.

Glory be to the Father, etc.

Nunc Dimittis (Song of Simeon)

Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace: according to Thy word.

For mine eyes have seen: Thy salvation,

Which Thou hast prepared: before the face of all people;

To be a light to lighten the Gentiles: and to be the glory of Thy people Israel.

Glory be to the Father, etc.

Let us sing the Song of the Three Children: which they sang as they blessed the Lord in the furnace of fire.

Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.

Our Father, etc.

Let all Thy works praise Thee, O Lord:
And Thy saints give thanks unto Thee.

Thy saints shall exult in glory
They shall rejoice in their beds.

Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us:
But to Thy Name give the glory.

Lord, hear my prayer:
And let my cry come unto Thee.

O God, who didst to the three children soothe the flames of fire, mercifully grant that the flames of sin may not kindle upon us Thy servants.

Direct us, O Lord, in all our doings with Thy most gracious favour, and further us with Thy continual help; that in all our works begun, continued, and ended in Thee, we may glorify Thy holy Name, and finally by Thy mercy obtain everlasting life.

Grant us, O Lord, we beseech Thee, grace to quench the flames of our sins as Thou didst endue the Blessed Laurence with power to overcome the fire of his torments; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

We yield Thee thanks, O Lord, holy Father, Almighty, Everlasting God, who for no merits of ours, but of the condescension of Thy mercy only, hast vouchsafed to feed us sinners, Thine unworthy servants, with the precious body and blood of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. We pray Thee that this holy communion may not bring guilt upon us to condemnation, but may be unto us for pardon and salvation. Let it be to us an armour of faith and a shield of good purpose; a riddance of all vices; a rooting out of all evil desires and longings; an increase of love and patience, of humility and obedience, and of all virtues; a firm defence against the wiles of our enemies visible and invisible; a perfect quieting of all our sinful impulses fleshly and spiritual; a firm adherence to Thee, the one true God; and a happy consummation of our end. And we pray Thee that Thou wouldst vouchsafe to bring us sinners to that ineffable feast where Thou with Thy Son and the Holy Ghost art to Thy saints true light, full satisfaction, everlasting joy, complete delight, and perfect happiness; through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

We beseech Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, that Thy passion may be unto us virtue, whereby we may be fenced, protected, and defended; let the sprinkling of Thy blood be unto us the washing away of all our sins; let Thy death be unto us eternal glory, both now and forever. Amen.

The grace of our Lord, etc.

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