Chapter VII. Of our Comportment in and after our Receiving the Blessed Sacrament. Section II. Acts of Virtues and Graces relative to the Mystery,
to be used before or at the Celebration of the Divine Sacrament.
IT is well, O sweetest Saviour Jesus, it is very well, that thou art pleased to be a daily sacrifice for us, and to become our daily super-substantial bread to feed our souls. Certain it is, that we, by our daily failings and the remaining pollution of our sins, frequently sink down into the bottom of thy displeasure. But do thou grant, that, being refreshed by the sacrament, recreated by thy grace, strengthened by thy Spirit, and comforted with thy miraculous sweetness, my heart and my affections may be lifted up on high.
O grant, that by thee my soul may be lifted up to thee, and from herself may pass into thee, with a pure mind, with an unfeigned religion, with an unblamable faith, and burning devotion; with filial piety, and a profound reverence. For thou art the true God, the Word of life, the bright image and splendour of thy Father's glory, the reward of saints, and the Lord of angels, the brightness of an eternal light, the unspotted mirror of eternal purity.
An Act of Love.
Thee alone, O Lord, my soul desires; thou art eternal sweetness in my soul. If the perfume of thy ointment be f sufficient to all the world, what is the refection of thy table? If we live by every word proceeding out of thy mouth, what felicity and joy is it to live upon thee, the eternal Word, chewing thee by faith, and digesting thee by love, and entertaining thee in our hearts for ever i How shall not my bowels melt into thee, the Sun of Righteousness? How is it that I do not forget all deliciousness besides thee?
A single pleasure, poor and empty, wearying and unsatisfying, hath often made me to forget thee. Now that thou art truly and effectively present with me, how can any other pleasure in the world seem pleasant to me any more? I will forget all the world, I will quit all the world to live on thee, if thou pleasest, O dearest Saviour; but do thou open thy ark and repositories of sweetness, and fill my soul and all my desires, that there may be no room for any thing else.
Thou hast called unto me to open my hand, and thou wouldest fill it: but I would not open it; I held the world fast, and kept my hand shut, and would not let it go. But do thou open it for me; not my hand only, but my mouth; not my mouth, but my heart also.
An Act of Desire after Jesus.
O blessed Jesus, that hast said, "It is thy delight to be with the sons of men:" thou hast made thyself the companion of our journeys, the light of our ignorance, the remedy of our infirmity. [Prov. viii.] Dwell with me, sweetest Saviour, and delight in me. It is no small thing I ask; O my God, can it ever be, that my God should delight in me? That is too much, O God; grant that I may delight in thee; and do thou delight to pardon me, to sanctify, and to save me.
Grant, that I may never offend thee, that I may never grieve thy Holy Spirit, that I may not provoke the Angel of the everlasting covenant to anger. But thou delightest in the works of thy hand, in the graces of the Spirit, in thy own excellencies and glories. Endue me with thy graces; fill me with thy excellencies; let me communicate of thy Spirit; and then enjoy these thy delights with thy servant; for thou canst not else delight in me. Thou art thy own essential joy, and everlasting blessedness, and inseparable felicity: but this thou hast said, that 'thou delightest to be with the sons of men,' because thou truly lovest us. Blessed be thy name for ever and ever.
An Act of Thanksgiving.
O blessed Saviour Jesus, I adore the secrets of thy eternal wisdom; I admire the mysteriousness of our salvation; and I love, and praise, and give all possible thanks to thee, the Author of our spiritual life, the Deliverer that came out of Sion, the Redeemer of thy people, the Spoiler of all spiritual wickedness in heavenly places, the Conqueror over sin and death, the Triumpher over devils; tliou hast taken from our strongest enemies all their armour, and divided the spoil. Grant that I may know nothing but thee, account all things loss in comparison of thee, and endeavour to be made conformable to thee, in the imitation of thy actions and obedience of thy laws; in the fellowship of thy sufferings, in the communion of thy graces, and participation of thy glories; that, beginning here to praise thy name, according as I can, I may, hereafter, for ever rehearse and adore thy excellencies, according to the measures of glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
Ejaculations and Meditations to be used at any Time, but particularly after the Consecration of the Symbols, when the holy Man that ministers, is bringing the Sacrament.
1. O HOLY JESU, I behold thee stretched upon the cross, with thy arms spread, ready to embrace and receive all mankind into thy bosom.
2. I come, Lord Jesus, I come. O take me to thee, in the comprehensions of an unalterable, of an everlasting love: for thou hast opened thy heart, as well as thine arms,--and hast prepared a lodging-place for me in the seat of love.
3. I see thy symbols, the holy bread, and the blessed cup; but I also contemplate thy authority establishing these rites; I adore thy wisdom, who hast made these mysteries like thy own infancy; I see thyself wrapt up in swaddling clouts, and covered with a veil; I hear thy voice blessing these symbols, thy mercy reaching out my pardon, thy Holy Spirit sanctifying my spirit, thy blessed self making intercession for me at the eternal altar in the heavens.
4. Thy infinite arm of mercy is reached unto us, and our arm of faith reaches unto thee. Blessed be Jesus, who will be joined unto his servants!
5. This is thy body, O blessed Saviour Jesus, and this is thy blood, but these are not thy wounds. My Lord had the smart,--but we, the ease; his were the sufferings,'--but ours, the mercy; he felt the load of stripes, but from thence a holy balm did flow upon us: he felt the thorns, but we shall have the crown: and after he had paid the price, we got the purchase. Holy Jesus! Blessed be God! [S. Ambr. Serm. 44. de S. Latrone.]
6. I adore thy unspeakable goodness; I delight in thy unmeasurable mercy; I rejoice in thy cross; I desire to know nothing but the Lord Jesus, and him crucified. "O let the power of thy cross" prevail against all the powers of darkness; let "the wisdom of thy cross" make me wise unto salvation; let "the peace of thy cross" reconcile me to thy eternal Father, and bring to me peace of conscience; let "the victory of thy cross" mortify all my evil and corrupt affections; let "the triumph of thy cross" lead me on to a state of holiness, that I may sin no more, but in all things please thee, and in all things serve thee, and in all things glorify thee.
7. Great and infinite are thy glories; infinite and glorious are thy mercies. Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high, and yet humbleth himself, to behold the things that are in heaven and earth? Heaven itself does wholly minister to our salvation; God takes care of us, God loves us first. God will not suffer us to perish, but employs all his attributes for our good. The Son of God dies for us: the Holy Spirit descends upon us, and teaches us: the angels minister to us: the sacrament is our food; Christ is married to our souls; and heaven itself is offered to us for our portion.
8. O God, my God, assist me now and ever, graciously and greatly: grant that I may not receive bread alone, for man cannot live by that, but that I may eat Christ: that I may not search into the secret of nature, but inquire after the miracles of grace. I do admire, I worship, and I love. Thou hast overcome, O Lord, thou hast overcome; ride on triumphantly, because of thy words of truth and peace; lead my soul in this triumph, as thy own purchase; thy love hath conquered, and I am thy servant for ever.
9. Thou wilt not dwell in a polluted house; make my soul clean, and do thou consecrate it into a temple, O thou great Bishop of our souls, by the inhabitation of thy Holy Spirit of purity; let not these teeth that break the bread of angels, ever grind the face of the poor; let not the hand of Judas be with thee in the dish; let not the eyes which see the Lord, any more behold vanity; let not the members of Christ ever become the members of a harlot, or the ministers of unrighteousness.
10. I am nothing, I have nothing, I desire nothing but Jesus, and to be in Jerusalem, the holy city from above. Make haste, O Lord; behold my heart is ready, my heart is ready: come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.
When the holy man that ministers, reaches the consecrated Bread, suppose thy Lord entering into his Courts, and say,
Lord, I am not worthy thou shouldest come under my roof; but speak the word, Lord, and thy servant shall be whole.
After receiving the Bread, pray thus:
Blessed be the name of our Gracious God: hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he, that cometh in the name of our Lord! Hosanna in the highest! Thou, O blessed Saviour Jesus, hast given me thy precious body to be the food of my soul; and now, O God, I humbly present to thee my body and soul, every member and every faculty, every action and every passion. Do thou make them fit for thy service: give me an understanding to know thee, and wisdom, like as thou didst to thy apostles; ingenuity and simplicity of heart, like to that of Nathanael; zeal and perfect repentance, like the return of Zaccheus. Give me eyes to see thee, as thy martyr Stephen had; an ear to hear thee, as Mary; a hand to touch thee, as Thomas; a mouth, with Peter, to confess thee; an arm, with Simeon, to embrace thee; feet to follow thee, with thy disciples; an heart open, like Lydia, to entertain thee; that as I have given my members to sin and to uncleanness, so I may henceforth walk in righteousness and holiness before thee, all the days of my life. Amen, Amen.
If there be any time more between the receiving the holy body, and the blessed Chalice, then add,
O immense goodness, unspeakable mercy, delightful refection, blessed peace-offering, effectual medicine of our souls, holy Jesus, the food of elect souls, celestial manna, the bread that came down from heaven, sweetest Saviour, grant that my soul may relish this divine nutriment, with spiritual ravishments and love great as the flame of cherubim: and grant that what thou hast given me for the remission of my sins, may not, by my fault, become the increase of them. Grant that in my heart I may so digest thee by a holy faith, so convert thee into the unity of my spirit by a holy love, that,--being conformed to the likeness of thy death and resurrection, by the crucifying of the old man, and the newness of a spiritual and a holy life,--I may be incorporated as a sound and living member into the body of thy holy church, a member of that body whereof thou art Head; that I may abide in thee, and bring forth fruit in thee, and in the resurrection of the just my body of infirmity being reformed by thy power, may be configured to the similitude of thy glorious body, and my soul received into a participation of the eternal supper of the Lamb; that where thou art, there I may be also, beholding thy face in glory, O blessed Saviour and Redeemer Jesus. Amen.
When the holy Chalice is offered, attend devoutly to the Blessing, and join in heart with the words of the Minister, saying, 'Amen.'
I will receive the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of our Lord.
At receiving of the holy Cup, pray thus:
It is finished: blessed be the name of our gracious God; blessing, glory, praise, and honour, love and obedience, dominion and thanksgiving, be to him that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb, for ever and ever!
I bless and praise thy name, O eternal Father, most merciful God, that thou hast vouchsafed to admit me to a participation of these dreadful and desirable mysteries. Unworthy though I am, yet thy love never fails: and though I too often have repented of my repentances, and fallen back into sin, yet thou never repentest of thy loving-kindness.--Be pleased, therefore, now in this day of mercy, when thou openest the treasures of heaven, and rainest manna upon our souls to refresh them when they are weary, of thy infinite goodness to grant, that this holy communion may not be to me unto judgment and condemnation; but it may be sweetness to my soul; health and safety in every temptation; joy and peace in every trouble; light and strength in every word and work, comfort and defence in the hour of my death against all the oppositions of the spirits of darkness; and grant that no unclean thing may be in me, who have received thee into my heart and soul.
Thou dwellest in every sanctified soul; she is the habitation of Sion, and thou takest it for thine own; and thou hast consecrated it to thyself by the operation of glorious mysteries within her. O be pleased to receive my soul, presented to thee in this holy communion, for thy dwelling-place; make it a house of prayer and holy meditations, the seat of thy Spirit, the repository of graces; reveal to me thy mysteries, and communicate to me thy gifts; and love me with that love thou bearest to the sons of thy house. Thou hast given me thy Son; with him give me all things else, which are needful to my body and soul, in order to thy glory, and my salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
III. An Act of Love and Eucharist, to be added, if there be Time and Opportunity.
O Lord Jesu Christ, fountain of true and holy love, nothing is greater than thy love; nothing is sweeter, nothing more holy. Thy love troubles none; but is entertained by all that feel it, with joy and exultation; and it is still more desired, and is ever more desirable. Thy love, O dearest Jesu, gives liberty; drives away fear; feels no labour, but suffers all; it cases the weary, and strengthens the weak; it comforts them that mourn, and feeds the hungry. Thou art the beginning and the end of thy own love, that thou mayest take occasion to do us good, and by the methods of grace, to bring us to glory. Thou givest occasion, and createst good things, and producest affections, and stirrest up the appetite, and dost satisfy all holy desire Thou hast made me, and fed me, and blessed me, and preserved me, and sanctified me, that I might love thee; and thou wouldest have me to love thee, that thou mayest love me for ever. O give me a love to thee, that I may love thee as well as ever any of thy servants loved thee; according to that love, which thou, by the sacrament of love, workest in thy secret ones.
Abraham excelled in faith; Job, in patience; Isaac, in fidelity; Jacob, in simplicity; Joseph, in chastity; David, in religion; Josiah, in zeal: and Manasses, in repentance: but as yet thou hadst not communicated the sacrament of love; that grace was reserved, till thou thyself shouldest converse with man and teach him love.
Thou hast put upon our hearts the sweetest and easiest yoke of love, to enable us to bear the burden of man and the burden of the Lord. Give unto thy servant such a love, that whatsoever in thy service may happen contrary to flesh and blood, I may not feel it; that when I labour, I may not be weary; when I am despised, I may not regard it; that adversity may be tolerable, and humility be my sanctuary; and mortification of my passions the exercise of my days, and the service of my God, the joy of my soul; that loss to me may be gain, so I win Christ; and death itself the entrance of an eternal life, when I may live with the beloved, the joy of my soul, the light of my eyes, my God, and all things, the blessed Saviour of the world, my sweetest Redeemer, Jesus. Amen.
An Eucharistical Hymn, taken from the Prophecies of the Old Testament,
relating to the Blessed Sacrament.
Praise ye the Lord; I will praise the Lord with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.
He that hath made his wonderful works to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and full of compassion: he hath given meat unto them that fear him; he will ever be mindful of his covenant.
His bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties.
Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine, lie washed his garment in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes.
In this mountain shall the Lord of Hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wine on the lees.
He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth; for the Lord hath spoken it.
And the Lord their God shall save them as the flock of his people; for how great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty! Corn shall make the young men cheerful,--and new wine, the virgins.
The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple,--even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in.
He shall purify the sons of Levi; and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God: for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. Take with you words, and turn to the Lord saying,
Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips: for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy.
The Lord hath said, I will heal their backslidings; I will love them freely; for mine anger is turned away.
They that dwell under his shadow, shall return: they shall revive as the corn, and blossom as the vine; the memorial thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon.
The poor shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek him; your heart shall live for ever: for he hath placed peace in our borders, and fed us with the flour of wheat.
For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same, the name of the Lord shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto his name, and a pure offering: for his name shall be great among all nations.
Whoso is wise, he shall understand these things, and the prudent shall know them: for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them; but the transgressors shall fall therein.
Glory be to the Father, &c.
A Prayer, to be said after the Communion, in behalf of our Souls and all Christian People.
1. O most merciful and gracious God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory; thou art the great lover of souls, and thou hast given thy holy Son to die for our salvation, to redeem us from sin, to destroy the work of the devil, and to present a church to thee pure and spotless and undefiled; relying upon thy goodness, trusting in thy promises, and having received my dearest Lord into my soul, I humbly represent to thy divine majesty the glorious sacrifice, which our dearest Jesus made of himself upon the cross, and, by a never-ceasing intercession, now exhibits to thee in heaven in the office of an eternal priesthood; in behalf of all that have communicated this day in the divine mysteries in all the congregations of the Christian world; and in behalf of all them that desire to communicate, and are hindered by sickness or necessity, by fear or scruple, by censures ecclesiastical, or the sentence of their own consciences.
2. Give unto me, O God, and unto them a portion of all the good prayers, which are made in heaven and earth; the intercession of our Lord, and the supplications of all thy servants; and unite us in the bands of the common faith and a holy charity; that no interests or partialities, no sects or opinions, may keep us any longer in darkness and division.
3. Give thy blessing to all Christian kings and princes, all republics and Christian governments; grant to them the spirit of mercy and justice, prudence and diligence; the favour of God, and the love of their people; and grace and blessing, that they may live at peace with thee, and with one another; remembering the command of their Lord and King, the serene and reconciling Jesus.
4. Give an apostolical spirit to all ecclesiastical prelates and priests; grant to them zeal of souls, wisdom to conduct their charges, purity to become exemplar, that their labours and their lives may greatly promote the honour of the kingdom of the Lord Jesus. O grant unto thy flock to be fed with wise and holy shepherds, men fearing God and hating covetousness; free from envy, and full of charity; that being burning and shining lights, men beholding their light, may rejoice in that light, and glorify thee, our Father which art in heaven.
5. Have mercy upon all states of men and women in the Christian church, the governors and the governed, the rich and the poor, high and low; grant to every of them, in their several station, to live with so much purity and faith, simplicity and charity, justice and perfection, that thy will may be done in earth as it is in heaven.
6. Relieve all oppressed princes, defend and restore their rights; suppress all violent and warring spirits, that unjustly disturb the peace of Christendom: relieve and comfort all gentlemen that are fallen into poverty, and sad misfortunes; comfort and support all that are sick, and deliver them from all their sorrows and all the powers of the enemy; and let the spirit of comfort and patience, of holiness and resignation, descend upon all Christian people, whom thou hast, in any instance, visited with thy rod. And be graciously pleased to pity poor mankind; shorten the days of our trouble, and put an end to the days of our sin; and let the kingdom of our dearest Lord be set up in every one of our hearts, and prevail mightily and for ever.
7. I humbly present to thy Divine Majesty this glorious sacrifice, which thy servants, this day, have represented upon earth in behalf of my dearest relations, wife, children, husband, parents, friends, &c. Grant unto them whatsoever they want, or wisely and holily desire; keep them for ever in thy fear and favour; grant that they may never sin against thee, never fall into thy displeasure, never be separated from thy love and from thy presence: but let their portion be in the blessing and in the service, in the love and in the kingdom of God, for ever and ever.
8. Have mercy upon all strangers and aliens from the kingdom of thy Son; let the sweet sound of the Gospel be heard in all the corners of the earth; let not any soul, the work of thy own hands, the price of thy Son's blood, be any longer reckoned in the portions of the enemy; but let them all become Christians; and grant that all Christians may live according to the laws of the holy Jesus, without scandal and reproach, full of faith and full of charity.
9. Give thy grace speedily to all wicked persons, that they may repent and live well, and be saved: to all good people, give an increase of gifts and holiness, and the grace of perseverance and Christian perfection: to all heretics and schismatics grant the spirit of humility and truth, charity and obedience; and suffer none, upon whom the name of Christ is called, to throw themselves away, and fall into the portion of the intolerable burning.
10. For all mankind whom I have, and whom I have not, remembered,--I humbly represent the sacrifice of thy eternal Son, his merits and obedience, his life and death, his resurrection and ascension, his charity and intercession; praying to thee, in virtue of our glorious Saviour, to grant unto us all the graces of an excellent and perfect repentance,--an irreconcileable hatred of all sin;--a great love of God,--an exact imitation of the holiness of the ever-blessed Jesus,--the spirit of devotion,--conformable will and religious affections,--an angelical purity--and a seraphical love,--thankful hearts,--and joy in God: and let all things happen to us all in that order and disposition, as may promote thy greatest glory and our duty, our likeness to Christ and the honour of his kingdom. Even so, Father, let it be, because it is best, and because thou lovest it should be so: bring it to a real and unalterable event by the miracles of grace and mercy, and by the blood of the everlasting covenant poured forth in the day of the Lord's love,--whom I adore and whom I love, and desire that I may still more and more love, and love for ever. Amen, Amen.