This morning I want you to already be thinking ahead to Sunday–I want to share something that you will take to Mass with you this weekend.
When I was a teenager, I discovered in an old missal this “Prayer of Thanksgiving after Receiving the Eucharist”:
Prostrate I adore Thee, Deity unseen,
Who Thy glory hidest ‘neath these shadows mean;
Lo, to Thee surrendered, my whole heart is bowed,
Tranced as it beholds Thee, shrined within the cloud.
Taste, and touch, and vision, to discern Thee fail;
Faith, that comes by hearing, pierces through the veil.
I believe whate’er the Son of God hath told;
What the Truth hath spoken, that for truth I hold.
On the Cross lay hidden but thy Deity,
Here is hidden also Thy Humanity:
But in both believing and confessing, Lord,
Ask I what the dying thief of Thee implored.
Thy dread wounds, like Thomas, though I cannot see,
His be my confession, Lord and God, of Thee,
Make my faith unfeigned ever-more increase,
Give me hope unfading, love that cannot cease.
O memorial wondrous of the Lord’s own death;
Living Bread, that giveth all Thy creatures breath,
Grant my spirit ever by Thy life may live,
To my taste Thy sweetness never-failing give.
Pelican of mercy, Jesus, Lord and God,
Cleanse me, wretched sinner, in Thy Precious Blood:
Blood where one drop for mankind outpoured
Might from all transgression have the world restored.
Jesus, whom now veiled, I by faith descry,
What my soul doth thirst for, do not, Lord, deny,
That thy face unveiled, I at last may see,
With the blissful vision blest, my God, of Thee. Amen
A very poetic prayer, right? What an impact it has had on my prayer life. The words of this haunting prayer became a part of me through the repetition of the beautiful lines over and over and over again for so many years. Of course, I had known since I was eight years old that we receive Our Lord’s Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Blessed Sacrament, but my understanding of this incredible gift was deepened, and I learned to cherish it even more as I constantly prayed these words. You’ll see for yourself if you pray this prayer week after week–it will change your appreciation for and reception of the Eucharist as these words begin to spontaneously well up from your heart.
Print off a copy of the prayer (here is another translation if you prefer it) and begin to pray it after receiving Our Lord. If you have children, have them practice and memorize it, because right now their brains are like sponges and it will never be easier for them later. What a wonderful catechetical opportunity this prayer is for those preparing to receive First Communion!
It turns out that this is prayer is the text to a Eucharistic hymn called the Adoro Te Devote, written by St. Thomas Aquinas, and it is, accordingly, hundreds of years old. I didn’t learn these facts until more than ten years after I had begun praying it after Communion–but now I have learned to pray it and sing it, in both English and Latin. Oh, it’s so worth it to learn this hymn!