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by which I have ever offended thy divine Majesty, from the first moment that I was capable of sinning to this very hour. I desire to lay them all at thy feet, to be cancelled by thy precious blood. Hear me, O Lord, by that infinite love by which thou hast shed thy blood for me. Oh, let not that blood be shed in vain! I deteșt my sins, because they have offended thy infinite goodness. By thy grace I will never commit them any more: I am sorry for them, and will be sorry for them as long as I live; and according to the best of my power, will do penance for them. Forgive me, dear Lord, for thy mercy's sake; pardon me all that is past; and be thou my keeper for the time to come, that I may never more offend thee.
§ Make an Act of Divine Love. O Lord Jesus, the God of my heart and the life of my soul, as the hart pants after the fountains of water, so does my soul pant after thee, the fountain of life, and the ocean of all good. I am overjoyed at the hearing of these happy tidings, that I am to go into the house of our Lord; or rather, that our Lord is to come into my house, and take up his abode with me. O happy moments, when I shall be admitted to the embraces of the living God, for whom my poor soul languishes with love! Oh, come, dear Jesus, and take full possession of my heart for ever! I offer it to thee without reserve; I desire to consecrate it eternally to thee. I love thee with my whole soul above all things; at least, I desire so to love thee. It is nothing less than infinite love that brings thee to me; oh, teach me to make a suitable return of love!
§ Humbly beg God's Grace. But, O my God, thou knowest my great poverty and misery, and that of myself I can do nothing: thou knowest how unworthy I am of this infinite favour, and thou alone canst make me worthy. Since thou art so good as to invite me thus to thyself, add this one bounty more to all the rest, to prepare me for thyself. Cleanse my
soul from its stains; clothe it with the nuptial garment of charity; adorn it with all virtues, and make it a fit abode for thee. Drive sin and the devil far from this dwelling, which thou art here pleased to choose for thyself, and make me one according to thy own heart; that this heavenly visit, which thou designest for my salvation, may not, by my unworthiness, be perverted to my own damnation. Never let me be guilty of thy body and blood by an unworthy communion. For the sake of this same precious blood, which thou hast shed for me, deliver me from so great an evil! Rather let me die ten thousand deaths, than thus presume to crucify thee again.
§ Implore the Prayers of the Blessed Virgin and of
the Saints. O all ye blessed angels and saints of God, who see him face to face whom I here receive under these humble veils; and thou most especially ever-blessed Virgin, Mother of this same God and Saviour, in whose sacred womb he was conceived and borne for nine months; I most humbly beg the assistance of your prayers and intercession, that I may in such manner receive him here, in this place of banishment, as to be brought one day to enjoy him with you in our true country, and there to praise him and love him for ever.
ASPIRATIONS AFTER COMMUNION.
Behold, O Lord, I have thee now, who hast all things. I possess thee, who possessest all things, and who canst do all things: take off my heart, then, O my God and my All, from all other things but thee, for in them there is nothing but vanity and affliction of spirit. Let my heart be fixed on thee alone ; let me ever repose in thee, for in thee is my treasure, in thee is the sovereign truth, true happiness, and a blessed eternity.
Let my soul, O Lord, feel the sweetness of thy presence. Let me taste how sweet thou art, O Lord! that
being allured by thy love, I may never more run after worldly pleasures; for thou art the joy of my heart, and my portion for ever.
Thou art the Physician of my soul, who healest all our infirmities by thy sacred blood. I am that sick man, whom thou camest from heaven to heal : oh, heal my soul, for I have sinned against thee.
Thou art the good Shepherd, who hast laid down thy life for thy sheep; behold, I am that sheep that was lost, and yet thou vouchsafest to feed me with thy body and blood: take me now upon thy shoulders to carry me home. What canst thou deny me, who hast given me thyself? Guide thou me, and I shall want nothing in the place of pasture where thou hast put me, until thou bringest me to the happy pastures of eternal life.
O true Light, which enlightenest every man that cometh into this world, enlighten my eyes, that I may never sleep in death.
O Fire, ever burning and never failing, behold how tepid and cold I am! Inflame my reins and my heart, that they may be on fire with the love of thee; for thou camest to cast fire upon earth; and what dost thou desire but that it be enkindled ?
O King of heaven and earth, rich in mercy, behold I am poor and needy: thou knowest what I stand most in need of; thou alone canst assist and enrich me. Help me, O God, and out of the treasures of thy bounty succour my needy soul.
O my Lord and my God, behold I am thy servant: give me understanding, and excite my affection, that I may know and do thy will.
Thou art the Lamb of God, the Lamb without spot, who takest away the sins of the world : oh, take away from me what may hurt me, and displease thee, and give me what thou knowest to be pleasing to thee, and profitable to me.
Thou art my love and my joy; thou art my God, my portion, and my All; thou art he that will restore my inheritance to me.
O my God and my All, may the sweet flame of thy love consume my soul, that so I may die to the world
for the love of thee, who hast vouchsafed to die upon the cross for the love of me!
ACTS OF DEVOTION, PRAISE, AND THANKSGIVING AFTER
COMMUNION. O Lord Jesus Christ, my Creator and my Redeemer, my God and my All, whence is this to me, that my Lord, and so great a Lord, whom heaven and earth cannot contain, should come into this poor dwelling, this house of clay of my earthly habitation! Oh, that I could entertain thee as I ought! Thy loving kindness invites me to thy embraces; and I would willingly say, with the spouse in the Canticles, “ I have found him whom my soul loveth; I have held him, and will never let him go.” But the awe of so great a majesty checks me, and the sense of my great unworthiness and innumerable sins keeps me back. Would that I could embrace thy feet! that, like Magdalen, I could wash them with my tears.
Bow down thyself, with all thy powers, O my soul, to adore the sovereign Majesty which hath vouchsafed to come to visit thee; pay him the best homage thou art able, as to thy first beginning, and thy last end; and perfectly annihilate thyself in the presence of this eternal, immense, infinite Deity. Then pour thyself forth in his presence in praises and thanksgiving; and invite all heaven and earth to join with thee in magnifying their Lord and thine, for his mercy and bounty to thee.
What return shall I make to thee, O Lord, for all thou hast done for me? Behold, when I had no being at all, thou didst create me; and when I was gone astray, and lost in my sins, thou didst redeem me, by dying for me. All that I have, all that I am, is thy gift; and now, after all thy other favours, thou hast given me thyself: blessed be thy name for ever! Thou art great, O Lord, and exceedingly to be praised; great are thy works, and of thy wisdom there is no end; but thy tender mercies, thy bounty and goodness to me, are above all thy works: these I desire to confess and extol for ever. Bless, then, thy Lord, O my soul, and let all that is within thee praise and magnify his name. Bless thy Lord, O my soul, and see thou never forget all that he hath done for thee. O all ye works of the Lord, bless the Lord, praise and glorify him for ever. O all ye angels of the Lord, bless the Lord, praise and glorify his holy name. Bless the Lord, all ye saints, and let the whole Church of heaven and earth join in praising and giving him thanks for all his mercies and graces to me; and so, in some measure, supply for what is due from me. But as all this still falls short of what I owe thee for thy infinite love, I offer to thee, O eternal Father, the same Son of thine whom thou hast given me, and his thanksgiving, which is infinite in value. Look not, then, upon my insensibility and ingratitude, but upon the face of thy Christ, and with him, and through him, receive this offering of my poor self, which I desire to make to thee.
N.B. Here also may be recited the Canticle of the Three Children, the Te Deum, and some of the Psalms of praise.
AN OBLATION AFTER COMMUNION. O Father of mercies, and God of all consolation, how hast thou loved us, to whom thou hast given thy only begotten Son, once for our ransom, and daily for the food of our souls! What can I, a wretched creature, return to thee for this infinite love? Verily nothing else but this same beloved Son of thine, whom thou hast given to me; and surely thou couldst give me nothing greater, or more worthy of thyself. Him, then, I offer to thee, O heavenly Father, with whom thou art always well pleased ; him whom thou didst lovingly deliver up to death for me, and hast given me in this most holy sacrament, which we frequent for the everlasting memorial of his death. He is our High Priest and Victim ; he is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world; he is our advocate and intercessor. Look down, then, upon him, and for his sake look down upon me, and upon us all. Remember all his sufferings which he endured here