Devout Exercises of Preparation and Thanksgiving
for Confession and Holy Communion
EXERCISES IN PREPARATION FOR HOLY COMMUNION
Arise, my soul; revive thy faith, which tells thee that thy God become man, that same Jesus Who was born in the stable of Bethlehem, that Jesus Who rose triumphant from the grave, that Jesus Who now sits glorious at the right hand of the Father, is now present with thee in the Most Holy Sacrament. O Faith! O Faith! what greater thing can be said and believed? God is here, in order to enter my heart and become entirely mine—–the Almighty: God!
Act of Faith
My Jesus, Thou Truth infallible, since it is part of Thy revelation, I believe that Thou art present, Soul, Body, and Divinity, in the consecrated host. I believe that in Communion I receive the same Jesus Who died, and Who rose again; and that in Him I receive the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Act of Adoration
O my soul, what art thou about? What thoughts engage thee? In a few minutes, thy God will enter within thee! O God, I profoundly humble myself, and I adore Thee. I adore Thee, beloved Jesus, in the Sacrament. Most holy Virgin, ye Angels, Saints, and Souls who love God, adore with me my Jesus; make up for my defect of worship, beseech for me living faith and profound veneration, now that I approach and receive Jesus Christ.
What can be wanting to thee, O my soul, now that the Almighty comes to visit thee? He comes to illuminate thee, to unite Himself heart to heart with thee, in order to give thee a lively pledge of that glory which He keeps prepared for thee in Heaven. Up! arise! enlarge thy heart, increase thy confidence; know that so much as thou hath promised to hear thee, and, bound by His word, He can give thee every good thing; it costs Him no more than the opening of His Hand. Thy Jesus is to thee as a Father; much He loveth thee, and wishes to bestow on thee every sort of benefit. Thy Jesus, who is faithful, hath promised to hear thee, and, bound by His word, He will do thee great favors. Well, then, to grow rich in soul you need only to seek His graces, and ardently to hope.
Act of Hope
My Jesus, my hope, confiding in Thy promises through the Blood which Thou hast shed for me, I hope, O Infinite Pity, I hope that in receiving Thee, Thou wilt sanctify my soul, and enkindle within it heavenly desires; so that I may live and die loving only Thee, O Infinite Good. Yes, O my dearest God, God of all my hopes, Sanctifier of souls, sanctify me.
What more could God do, in order to get loved by thee? God has made Himself man, was born in a stable, died upon a Cross and dwells in the Sacrament for love of thee. Nay, that infinite love invites thee to receive Him, calls thee to Himself with a desire so strong that He cannot endure thy delays. O ingenious devices of love! The great God of infinite beauty and majesty wishes this morning to confer upon me such a favor as He hath never bestowed on the seraphim. He purposes to come to dwell in my heart; He wishes to unite Himself to me. And thou, my soul, dost thou not burn and flame with love toward a God Who is all love toward thee?
Act of Love
O my Jesus, my love, God of my soul, how good Thou art, how loving, how every way dear and worthy to be loved! My God, I love Thee with all my soul, my life, my heart, my mind, and all my faculties and strength. I love Thee more than myself, Thou one object of all my desires, my beginning and my last end. O that I had infinite tongues with which to praise and bless Thee! O that I could at any sacrifice carry Thy most holy name through the world, to make Thee known and loved! O God! I would willingly waste myself away in labors for the love of Thee. I desire to burn with love, I desire to bless Thee, to thank Thee, to love Thee, with the love that the most holy Mary bore to Thee; I desire to love Thee more than all created beings united. I love Thee, my Jesus, my treasure, my Father, my life, my hope, my Heaven. Spouse of my soul, I love Thee, because Thou deservest to be loved—–because Thou art God! Ah, Lord! would that I were all love, would that I did nothing but love Thee! My soul, created by God to love God, love Him then, love thy God; my heart, which can find no peace or satisfaction out of God, drive from thee every mere earthly attachment, and give welcome to thy God. Ah, Mary, mother of holy love, obtain for me to love my God!
How shouldest thou burn, my soul, to receive a God of infinite purity, holiness, and majesty, thou who art an abyss of vice, ingratitude, and sins! Hast thou forgotten all thou hast done against thy God? Ah, how often hast thou been more cruel, more afflicting to Jesus than Calvary itself! Jesus has been crucified in thee, so often as thou hast mortally sinned.
Act of Contrition
Dear Lord Jesus, by my sins I have crowned Thee with thorns, I have nailed Thee on the Cross, I have given Thee gall to drink, I have pierced Thy side, I have put Thee to death! I am not worthy to live, far less to receive Thee. I deserve that the earth should swallow me, that Heaven should hurl thunderbolts on my head, that all created things should turn in anger upon me. But, O my God, how good Thou art! How often have I trodden under foot Thy Blood, insulted Thy name, dishonored Thy authority; yet not only dost Thou pardon me, but Thou art the first to propose to be at peace with me; and for an act of penitence, for one tear of grief and affection, Thou forgivest me all my sins, Thou replacest me in Thy favor, and Thou makest me anew Thy friend and Thy son. And this is God—–that it is that is meant by God! Oh, how I rejoice when I think that Thou art God; that is, infinite liberality, infinite magnanimity, infinite fidelity, infinite love; an abyss of infinite glories, attributes, and perfections! It suffices to say that Thou art good and in giving Thyself to me Thou knowest how to ordain for Thy greater glory, and for the greater good of my soul, even my very bygone sins. Glory to Thee! Ah, I could wish to die of grief for having offended so good a God. I am sorry that I have offended Thee! Forgive me, O my Lord. I do not heed my own interest; I only desire that Thou, great God, shouldst be honored and glorified by me, without ever being again offended by me. Wash, O beloved Jesus, my soul with Thy blood, and make it become a fit abode for Thy Divine Majesty. O most holy Mary, obtain for me tears of true contrition.
My soul, thou art about to feed upon the blessed Body of Jesus. And hast thou well considered what thou art, and who God is? If thou wert a seraph of love, if thou hadst the love felt by all the Angels, the virtues of all the Saints, wouldst thou even then be worthy of even once receiving God?
An Act of Humility
Behold, O my Jesus, the hour is come when Thou shalt be put into the power of this great sinner. O have patience with me; endure me by the bowels of Thy compassion! Ah, Lord, Thou art that God before the splendor of Whose holiness heaven and earth vanish into nothing. I confess the truth, in looking at Thy Majesty and at my unworthiness; I am so confounded and ashamed, that I should wish to hide myself in the abyss of my own nothingness. Yes, I must needs approach to receive Thee, for Thou incitest and commandest me, and like a son, I must obey Thee, O my King. Let the seraphim make up, let the Saints make up, let Mary make up—–above all, let Thine Own infinite goodness make up for all my shortcomings in right devotion and love. O Lord, if I do not deserve to receive Thee and to love Thee, Thou deservest to be received and loved by me!
Dispose of me for Thine Own honor, make me worthy of so great a favor, give me all that I am wanting in, make me altogether Thine.
The hour is come, my soul, the blessed moment is come, when thou hast to receive thy dearest Jesus. Behold the King of kings, behold the Lord of lords, behold the Friend, behold the Father, behold the Spouse, behold the Joy of Paradise, behold the delight of Heaven, behold thy God Himself, behold all the Most Holy Trinity in the Divine Sacrament! Ecce Sponsus venit, exite obviam ei. “Behold the Bridegroom cometh; go forth to meet Him.” (St. Matt. xxv. 6). But how, my soul, how standest thou thus so frozen, without one burning desire to feed upon that Sacred Body? Ah! should not the overflowing of the Divine compassion all enkindle thee with love? And here Shepherd, guide me. Come, O my Father, my Spouse, my Treasure, my Life, my Bliss, and my Rest. Come, Thou one end of all my longings. Come, light of souls, refreshment of hearts, consoler of the sorrowing. Come, Thou expected One of all nations, sighed for by the holy patriarchs, desire of the eternal hills, joy of Angels, delight of Heaven, beatitude of the Saints. Come, O my Paradise: come, for I desire Thee, for I sigh after Thee. Come, art thou all frozen! If it wert to do only once in all thy life, with what fervor wouldst thou not do it! But now, while the Infinite Goodness waits ever ready at thy pleasure, thou goest up so tepid, so dull of heart, to receive a God so great! Enamoured souls have burned with desire of this Communion, and have run like thirsty stags to that fount Divine. Up, up, my soul; awake, kindle in thyself a
most ardent longing to receive Jesus; sigh after that Supremest Good, desire Him, call on Him with tears and with sighs, and with a heart in flames of holy love.
An Act of Desire
Come, O thou Divine food, and nourish my hungry soul. Come, furnace of charity, and kindle me; come, flaming fire of love, inflame me by thy flames. Come, heavenly for Thou hast wounded me with love; come, delay not, for my heart is failing, and I feel that life would not be life without Thee. Arise for pity, O my Jesus, and come.
Most holy Virgin, already I am at hand, and about to receive thine and my Jesus. From thy hands I purpose to receive Him. Hold Him forth to me, as thou didst to the shepherds, and the holy kings and to holy Simeon. Prepare me to receive Him with love. Give Him to me quickly, and pray to Him to fill me with His dearest benediction; and do thou accompany it with thine.
An Act of Offering
I protest, O my God, that I purpose to unite this my Communion with the Communion of most holy Mary, of Thy Apostles, of Thy Saints, and of all the just who receive Thee this morning, or who shall ever receive Thee in time to come. My desire and purpose is, to make all their devout acts, all their preparations, all their thanksgivings; and I mean to offer the whole in union with those virtues, that merit, that holiness, with which Thou, O my Jesus, didst receive Thyself in the Sacrament, at the Last Supper. May the Church triumphant and militant now supply my defects of love, and worship, and thanks.