On the Thanksgiving to Be Made after Holy Communion.
PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.
My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.
On the Thanksgiving to Be Made after Holy Communion.
Represent to yourself, my soul, our Lord after His resurrection sitting at table with His beloved disciples, much as He did on that memorable occasion before His death, and partaking with them of their simple fare. As St. Augustine very justly remarks: only the power to eat, not the necessity for it, appertains to the glorified body. Charity was the motive that induced the risen Saviour to sit at table and partake of food with His disciples, and it is charity that actuates Him now when He provides for us a similar repast in Holy Communion. In that heavenly banquet He breaks bread and gives it to us, as once He did to the disciples at Emmaus; in it He prepares for us mysterious food, as He did for the apostles at the lake of Genesareth. Are you, my soul, thankful for this as they were? Can it with truth be said of you as it was of them: “The disciples therefore were glad when they saw the Lord” (St. John xx. 20)? To judge by appearances neither your gratitude nor your joy seems to be very great.
1st. Consider how short and cold is the thanksgiving you make after the supper of the Lord. As often as it is recorded in Scripture that our Lord broke bread, almost invariably it is added that He gave thanks. This our Lord intends for our instruction, to teach us how we ought to comport ourselves after the reception of the Most Holy Sacrament; to teach us that we ought to spend at least a certain time in spiritual meditation and in rendering the thanks which are meet and right. Oh how many persons, even Priests and Religious, do not heed this! From their behavior one might imagine that they had merely partaken of ordinary bread. As soon as Jesus, their divine Guest, enters by one door, they immediately go out by the other, without a word of welcome to their heavenly Visitant. Oh, what ingratitude! St. Margaret, Princess of Hungary, was accustomed to spend the whole day in adoration after receiving Holy Communion, not allowing a morsel of food to pass her lips until the evening. Yet you, my soul, make so short, so cold a thanksgiving!
2d. Consider what St. Chrysostom says in regard to communicants who make no thanksgiving, who on leaving the Lord’s table hasten away to their business and ordinary occupations, or what is worse, to indulge in useless conversation, foolish mirth or complete idleness. “What I have to say”—thus speaks the saint—“sounds very severe. Yet it is needful that I should say it because of this habit of negligence. When the traitor Judas received Communion at the Last Supper, with the other apostles, they all remained where they were, whereas he rose up and went out without waiting for the hymn of praise and our Lord’s discourse. Those persons who, after communicating, depart without waiting to make their thanks giving are imitators of Judas. For as he, when he went out, hastened to execute the project of betrayal which he had formed, so these unthankful persons return on the day of their Communion to their former follies, nay more, they fall again into the mortal sins of earlier days.” Ponder that carefully, my soul, and if you feel conscience stricken on reading these words, bewail your past carelessness and stimulate yourself to be more fervent for the future in your thanksgiving after Holy Communion by the following consideration:
3d. The prophet Aggeus says to the people of Israel (ch. i. 6): “You have eaten but have not had enough; you have drunk but have not been filled with drink.” How often you have eaten and drunk the true body and blood of Jesus Christ, and yet your soul is half-starved! You have drawn near to the furnace of divine charity and yet you have remained cold; you have entertained as your Guest the great King of Heaven, and yet you feel yourself to be as destitute as the poorest beggar. That may be ascribed to the short and lukewarm thanksgiving which you are in the habit of making after receiving Holy Communion. What good is it to you that the sun should warm the earth with its rays if you keep out of the way of it? What good is it to you that our Lord should come to you laden with the richest treasures, if you hasten away, instead of waiting to receive His gifts? Meditate upon this, my soul; fix your mind on the infinite graces, the marvellous blessings, the unspeakable privileges of these precious moments when, alone with your God, you hold converse with Him as a friend with his friend. Now only think what you do when you make so bad a use by the brevity, the languor of your thanksgiving, of that moment which millions may well envy you, that moment which was longed for earnestly but in vain by the saints of the Old Dispensation. If Esau once upon a time sold his birthright for a pottage of lentils, does not that soul commit a far worse act of folly and thoughtlessness who trifles away the blissful hour after Holy Communion for the sake of temporal affairs or frivolous conversation?
PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.
My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.
April Devotion: The Holy Ghost
Virtue to practice: Patience
Vexilla Regis prodeunt
The royal banners forward go;
The Cross shines forth in mystic glow,
Where Life for sinners death endured,
And life by death for man procured.
Where deep for us the spear was dyed,
Life’s torrent rushing from His side,
To wash us in that precious flood
Where mingled, Water flowed, and Blood.
Fulfilled is all that David told
In true prophetic song of old;
‘Amidst the nations, God,’ saith he,
‘Hath reigned and triumphed from the Tree.’
O Tree of beauty! Tree of light!
O Tree with royal purple dight!
Elect on whose triumphal breast
Those holy Limbs should find their rest.
On whose dear arms, so widely flung,
The weight of this world’s ransom hung:
The price of humankind to pay
And spoil the spoiler of his prey.
O Cross, our one reliance, hail,
Thou glory of the saved, avail*
To give fresh merit to the Saint,
And pardon to the penitent.
To Thee, Eternal Three in One,
Let homage meet by all be done;
Whom by the Cross Thou dost restore,
Preserve and govern evermore. Amen.
Vexilla Regis pródeunt,
Fulget Crucis mystérium,
Qua vita mortem pértulit,
Et morte vitam prótulit.
Quæ vulneráta lánceæ
Mucróne diro, críminum
Ut nos laváret sórdibus,
Manávit unda et sánguine.
Impléta sunt quæ cóncinit
David fidéli cármine,
Regnávit a ligno Deus.
Arbor decóra et fúlgida,
Ornáta regis púrpura,
Elécta digno stípite
Tam sancta membra tángere.
Beáta, cuius bráchiis
Prétium pepéndit sæculi,
Statéra facta córporis,
Tulítque prædam tártari.
O Crux, ave, spes única,
Gentis redémptæ glória!*
Piis adáuge grátiam,
Reísque dele crímina.
Te, fons salútis, Trínitas,
Colláudet omnis spíritus:
Quibus Cricis victóriam
Largíris, adde præmium. Amen.
(ex. Breviario Romano)
*Instead of: ‘Thou Glory of the saved,’ during Passiontide, say: ‘This Holy Passiontide‘, during the Paschal Season: ‘Thou joy of Eastertide‘, on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: ‘On this triumphant day.‘
An indulgence of 5 years.
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this hymn throughout an entire month (S.C. Ind., Jan. 16, 1886; S.P.Ap., April 29, 1934).
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