Chapter VI. Of our Actual and Ornamental Preparation to the Reception of the Blessed Sacrament.
1. O BLESSED Lord, our gracious Saviour and Redeemer Jesus, King of kings, and Lord of lords; thou art fairer than the children of men; upon thee the angels look, and behold, and wonder; what am I, O Lord, that thou, who fillest heaven and earth, shouldest descend and desire to dwell with me, who am nothing but folly and infirmity, misery and sin, shame and death?
2. I confess, O God, that when I consider thy greatness and my nothing, thy purity and my uncleanness, thy glory my shame,--I see it to be infinitely unreasonable and presumptuous that I should approach to thy sacred presence, and desire to partake of thy sacraments, and to enter into thy grace, and to hope for a part of thy glory. But when I consider thy mercy and thy wisdom, thy bounty, and thy goodness, thy readiness to forgive, and thy desires to impart thyself unto thy servants,--then I am lifted up with hope: then I come with boldness to the throne of grace. Even so, O Lord, because thou hast commanded it, and because thou lovest it should be so.
3. It was never heard, O Lord, from the beginning of the world, that thou didst ever despise him that called upon thee; or forsake any man that abides in thy fear; or that any person who trusted in the Lord was ever confounded. But if I come to thee, I bring an unworthy person to be united unto thee; if I come not, I shall remain unworthy for ever; if I stay away, I fear to lose thee; if I come, I fear to offend thee, and that will lose thee more, and myself too at last. I know, O God, I know, my sins have separated between me and my God; but thy love and thy passion, thy holiness and thy obedience, hath reconciled us: and though my sins deter me, yet they make it necessary for me to come; and though thy greatness amazes me, yet it is so full of goodness, that it invites me.
4. O therefore, blessed Saviour, who didst, for our sakes, take upon thee our passions and sensibilities, our weaknesses and our sufferings,--who wert hungry after the temptation of the devil, weary and thirsty in thy discourse with the woman of Samaria,--who didst weep over Lazarus,--wert afflicted in the garden,--whipped in the Consistory,--nailed on the cross,--pierced with a spear,--wrapped in linen,--laid in the grave,--and so art become a merciful High Priest, and pitiful to our infirmities;--be pleased to receive a weary sinner, an over-burdened conscience, an afflicted, polluted soul, into thy care and conduct, into thy custody and cure. I know, that a thousand years of tears and sorrow, the purity of angels, the love of saints, and the humiliation of the greatest penitent, is not sufficient to make me worthy to dwell with thee, to be united to thy infinity, to be fed with thy body, and refreshed with thy purest blood, to become bone of thy bone, and flesh of thy flesh, and spirit of thy spirit.
5. But what I cannot be of myself, let me be made by thee; I come to thee, wounded, and bruised, and bleeding; for thou art my physician: arise then with healing in thy wings. I am thirsty and faint; as the hart longeth after the water-brooks, so longeth my soul after thee, O God; thou art the eternal fountain, from whence spring the waters of comfort and salvation; I am hungry, and empty, and weak, and I come running after thee, because thou hast the words of eternal life; O send me not away empty, for I shall faint and die; I cannot live without thee. O let virtue go forth from thee and heal all my sickness; do thou appear to my soul in these mysteries; heal my sores, purify my stains, enlighten my darkness, turn me from all vain imaginations and illusions of the enemy, all perverseness of will, all violence and inordination of passions, sensual desires, and devilish angers, lust and malice, gluttony and pride, the spirit of envy, and the spirit of detraction; let not sin reign in my members, nor the devil lead my will captive, nor the world abuse my understanding, and debauch my conversation.
6. O Jesus, be a Jesus unto me: and let this sacrament be a savour of life,--and thy holy body, the bread of life,--and thy precious blood, the purifier of my sinful life. Grant I may receive these divine mysteries for the amendment of my life and the defensative against my sins; for the increase of virtue, and the perfection of my spirit; grant that I may from thee, thus sacramentally communicated, derive prevailing grace for the amendment of my life; spiritual wisdom, for the discerning the ways of peace; the spirit of love, and the spirit of purity, that in all my life I may walk worthy of thy gracious favours, which thou givest to me unworthy; that I may do all my works in holiness and right intention, that I may resist every temptation, with a never-fainting courage, and a caution never surprised, and a prudence never deceived.
7. Sweetest Saviour, I come to thee upon thy invitation, and thy commandment; I could not come to thee but by thee; O let me never go from thee any more, but enter into my heart; feed me with thy word; sustain me with thy Spirit; refresh me with thy comforts, and let me in this divine mystery receive thee, my dearest Saviour: and be thou my wisdom and my righteousness, my sanctification and redemption. Let me receive this holy nutriment, as the earnest of an eternal inheritance, as a defensative against all spiritual danger, for the eviction of all the powers of the enemy: as an incentive of holy love, and a strengthening of my faith for the increasing of a holy hope, and the consummation of a heavenly love; that thou being one with me, and I with thee, I may, by thee, be gracious in the eyes of thy heavenly Father, and may receive my portion among the inheritance of sons, O eternal and most gracious Saviour and Redeemer Jesus. Amen, Amen.