Prayer Before Holy Communion from the Augustinian Manual
I FIRMLY believe, O my Divine Jesus! that Thou art really present in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. I believe that it contains thy body and blood, accompanied by thy very soul and divinity. I acknowledge these truths; I believe these wonders; I adore the power that has wrought them – the same power that said: “Let there be light, and light was made.” I submit my senses and reason to thy divine authority; I praise and glorify thy infinite goodness, which hath prepared this heavenly banquet for the food and nourishment of my soul. Blessed be thy name for ever. Accept my homage; accept, O my God! my most hearty thanks. But what am I, that Thou shouklst work such wonders for my sake? How shall such a filthy sinner as I am presume to approach Thee, who art the inexhaustible source of infinite purity and sanctity? How shall I venture to lift my eyes to heaven, much less to receive Thee within my breast? I tremble at the sentence of thy apostle: “Whosoever shall eat this bread or drink this cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” (1 Cor. 11) For I acknowledge myself to be nothing but dust and ashes – a poor, miserable worm of the earth, subject to many vices, and void of all virtue and merit. Alas! my life has been nothing but sin and misery. I have nothing to confide in but thy boundless mercy; nor should I ever presume to approach thy sacred table, and partake of the bread of angels, were I not encouraged by thy infinite goodness, and excited by thy own most pressing invitations. It is, therefore, in thy mercy, which is above all thy works, that I put my whole trust; and since thou art pleased to call me to this divine banquet, behold, I come to it, like Magdalen, to be happily united to Thee, aad lay down all my sins at thy feet, in order that they may be cancelled by thy precious blood. I come to commemorate thy sufferings, as Thou thyself hast ordained. I come, as one sick, to the Physician of life; as one blind, to the Light of eternal glory; as one poor, needy, and distressed, to the King of heaven and earth! To Thee I expose all my wounds, that they may be healed. To Thee I fly for protection, hoping that Thou wilt he to me a Saviour, and that Thou wilt wash away every sin that may defile me. Remove my blindness, relieve my necessities, and clothe me with thy grace, that I may receive the adorable sacrament of thy body and blood with such reverence and humility, such contrition and devotion, such purity and faith, as may be for thy honour and glory, and the salvation of my soul. I am not worthy, O Lord, to receive Thee: alas! I am not: but Thou canst, if Thou wilt, make me worthy: say but the word, then, and my soul shall be healed.