Chapter IV. Of Charity, Preparatory to the Blessed Sacrament. Section V. Devotions relative to this Grace of Charity:
to be used, by way of Exercise and Preparation to the Divine Mysteries, in any Time or Part of our Life;
but especially before and at the Communion.
The Hymn, containing Acts of Love to God and to our Neighbour.
COME, behold the works of the Lord: what desolations he hath made in the earth.
He maketh wars to cease unto the ends of the earth; he breaketh the bow and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burn-eth the chariot in the fire.
But unto the wicked said God, What has? thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth, seeing thou hatest instruction, and easiest my words behind thee?
Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother's son.
These things thou hast done, and I kept silence; but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.
Now consider this, ye that forget God; lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.
Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation; and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
Blessed is he, that considereth the poor; the Lord will deliver him in the time of trouble:
The Lord will deliver him, and keep him alive, and he shall be blessed upon the earth; and thou wilt not deliver him into the will of his enemies.
The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness.
But I said, Lord, be merciful to me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee.
Yet the Lord will command his loving-kindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.
O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me, let them bring me to thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.
Then will I go unto the altar of God, my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.
The righteous shall be glad in the Lord, and shall trust in him; and all the upright in heart shall glory.
Do good, O Lord, to them that are true of heart, and evermore mightily defend them. Do good in thy good pleasure unto Sion, build thou the walls of Jerusalem.
In God will I praise his word: in the Lord will I praise his word: thy vows are upon me, O God; I will render praises unto thee,
For thou hast delivered our souls from death; wilt thou not deliver our feet from falling, that we may walk before God in the light of the living?
I will love thee, O God, and praise thee for ever, because thou hast done it; and I will wait on thy name; for it is good before the saints.
Glory be to the Father, &c.
A Prayer for the Grace of Charity, &c.
O most gentle, most merciful and gracious Saviour Jesu, thou didst take upon thee our nature, to redeem us from sin and misery: thou wert for us led as a lamb to the slaughter: and as a sheep before the shearer is dumb, so thou openedst not thy mouth; thou turnedst thy back to the smiters, and thy cheeks to the nippers; thou wert mocked and whipped, crucified and torn, but thou didst nothing but good to thy enemies, and prayedst with loud cries for thy persecutors, and didst heal the wound of one that came to lay violent hands upon thee: O plant in my heart gentleness and patience, a meek and a long-suffering spirit, that I may never be transported with violent angers, never be disordered by peevishness, never think thoughts of revenge; but may, with meekness, receive all injuries that shall be done to me, and patiently bear every cross accident; and, with charity, may return blessing for cursing, good for evil, kind words for foul reproaches, loving admonitions for scornful upbraidings, gentle treatments for all derisions and affronts; that living all my days with meekness and charity, keeping peace with all men, and loving my neighbour as myself, and thee more than myself, and more than all the world, I may, at last, come into the regions of peace and eternal charity, where thou livest, who lovest all men, and wouldst have none to perish, but all men to be saved through thee, O most merciful Saviour and Redeemer Jesu, Amen.
An Act of Forgiveness to be said, with all Earnestness and Sincerity, before every Communion.
O God, my God, I have sinned grievously against thee: I am thy debtor in a vast and an eternal debt, and if thou shouldest take the forfeiture, I shall be for ever bound in eternal prisons, even till I pay the utmost farthing. But I hope in thy mercies, that thou wilt forgive me my ten thousand talents; and I also do, in thy presence, forgive every one that hath offended me: whoever hath taken my goods privately and injuriously, or hurt my person, or contrived any evil against me, whether known or unknown; whoever hath lessened my reputation, detracted from my best endeavours, or hath slandered me, or reproached, reviled, or, in any word or way, done me injury; I do, from the bottom of my soul, forgive him; praying thee also, that thou wilt never impute to him any word, or thought, or action done against me; but forgive him, as I desire thou wouldst also forgive me all that I have sinned against thee, or any man in the world. Give him thy grace, and a holy repentance for whatever he hath done amiss: grant he may do so no more; keep me from the evil tongues, and injurious actions of all men, and keep all my enemies from all the expresses of thy wrath: and let thy grace prevail finally upon thy servant, that I may never remember any injury, to the prejudice of any man, but that I may walk towards my enemies, as Christ did, who received much evil, but went about seeking to do good to every man: and if ever it shall be in my power and my opportunity, to return evil, O then grant, that the spirit of love and forgiveness may triumph over all anger, and malice and revenge; that I may be the son of God, and may love God, and prove my love to thee, by my love to my brother, and by obedience to all thy laws, through the Son of thy love, by whom thou art reconciled to mankind, our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus. Amen.
Vers. Remember not, Lord, our offences, nor the offences of our forefathers, neither take thou vengeance of our sins.
Resp. Spare us, good Lord, spare thy people, whom thou hast redeemed with thy most precious blood; and be not angry with us for ever. Amen.