by Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R. and James Monti

2012 Catholic Almanac

Prayers and Meditations Before Mass and Holy Communion

St. John Chrysostom

Archbishop of Constantinople, Father of the Church (Turkey, Armenia, Cappadocia: c. 347-407)

O Christ,
Great and holiest Passover!
O Wisdom, Word, and Power of God!
Grant that we may receive you more perfectly
in the day of your eternal kingdom.
May our lips be filled with your praise,

O Lord,
so that we may sing your glory;
for you have been pleased
to make us sharers in your holy, divine,
immortal, and life-giving Mysteries.
Keep us in your holiness
so that all day long
we may learn your goodness.

We thank you, Lord, Lover of mankind,
Benefactor of our souls,
because you have been pleased today
to make us sharers in your heavenly
and immortal Mysteries.

Make straight our paths.
Strengthen us in awesome reverence for you.
Guard our life,
Guide our steps,
through the prayers and intercession
of the glorious Mother of God,
the ever-virgin Mary,
and of all your saints.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Cistercian Monk, called "Last of the Fathers," titled "Doctor Mellifluous" (France: 1090-1153)

Oh, how good and pleasant a thing it is
to dwell in the Heart of Jesus!
Who is there that does not love
a heart so wounded?
Who can refuse a return of love
to a heart so loving!

St. Clare of Assisi, Virgin, Co-foundress of the Franciscan Order (Italy: 1194-1253)

Praise and glory be to you, O loving Jesus Christ,
for the most sacred wound in your side . . .
and for your infinite mercy
which you made known to us in the opening
of your breast to the soldier Longinus,
and so to us all.
I pray you, O most gentle Jesus,
having redeemed me by baptism
from original sin,
so now, by your Precious Blood,
which is offered and received
throughout the world,
eliver me from all evils,
past, present and to come.
And, by your most bitter death,
give me a lively faith,
a firm hope, and
a perfect charity,
so that I may love you
with all my heart
and all my soul,
and all my strength;
make me firm and steadfast
in good works
and grant me perseverance
in your service
so that I may be able to please you always.

St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest, Dominican Scholar, Doctor of the Church,
Patron of Catholic Universities (Italy: 1225-1274)

Almighty and ever-living God, I approach the sacrament of your only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
I come sick to the doctor of life, unclean to the fountain of mercy, blind to the radiance of eternal light, and poor and needy to the Lord of heaven and earth.
Lord, in your great generosity, heal my sickness, wash away my defilement, enlighten my blindness, enrich my poverty, and clothe my nakedness.
May I receive the Bread of angels, the King of kings and Lord of lords, with humble reverence, with the purity and faith, the repentance and love, and the determined purpose that will help to bring me to salvation.
May I receive the sacrament of the Lord’s body and blood, and its reality and power.
Kind God, may I receive the body of your only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, born from the womb of the Virgin Mary, and so be received into his mystical body and be numbered among his members.
Loving Father, as on my earthly pilgrimage I now receive your beloved Son under the veil of a sacrament, may I one day see him face to face in glory, who lives and reigns with you for ever and ever. Amen.

Also by St. Thomas:

O Sacred Banquet,
in which Christ is received,
the memory of his passion is renewed,
the soul is filled with grace,
and a pledge of future glory is given to us.

Bl. Margaret Ebner, Virgin, Dominican Mystic (Germany: 1291-1351)

Give us, my Lord, a sweet inner desire from a pure heart for the living food of your Holy Body and a loving thirst to receive you in accord with your innermost mercy; and undertake in us with sweetness a merciful work with full grace, so that we will perceive truly in ourselves the hidden power of your holy sacraments, ever acquiring virtues, ever increasing in grace.

And I ask you, my Lord, to feed us this day in union with the most worthy priest, who receives you today on earth. . . . By the grace of your presence may we feel no lack of you because of the sad state of Christianity, and on that account may we never harm by evil the pure Truth, which is you yourself, O God, in whom all truth is seen. And may we appear before your divine face innocent of this sin and of all sins and well adorned with the fullness of all grace. May we be strengthened by your living food so that we increase in fiery love, be surrounded by your boundless mercy against all evil, and be embraced by your pure truth. . . .

My Lord, may your glorified, grace-filled humanity, Jesus Christ, be my innermost strength, a purification of my whole life, and an enlightening of all my senses to recognize the real and only truth. My surest way to you, my Lord, on the way of real truth must be for us the true light of your pure life of thirty-three years on earth, your humble deeds, your gentle course of life, your powerful suffering, your love-filled death, your true words 

Bl. Peter Favre, Jesuit Priest, Theologian 
(France, Italy: 1506-1546) 

O my Lord, I beg you to take from me whatever divides, separates, and distances me from you and you from me. . . . Take from me all that makes me unworthy of your visitation. . . .

Have mercy on me, O Lord, have mercy on me always; drive far from me all the evil in me which hinders me from beholding you; from hearing you and delighting in you; from perceiving your fragrance . . . from loving and possessing you; from abiding in your presence and beginning to find delight in you.

St. Louis Marie de Montfort, Priest, Religious, Founder of Two Orders,
Apostle of Marian Devotion (France: 1673-1716)

My Jesus, I long ardently
For you to come to me this day;
Without you life is misery.
Come to me soon, I pray.
Without the fervor that you bring,
O Love, I languish night and day;
And do you not desire my love?
Inflame my heart, I pray.
Good Shepherd, bear your lost sheep home
Within your arms, when e’er I stray;
From ravening wolves that round me roam
O keep me safe, I pray.
O Bread of Life, for you I sigh,
Give me yourself without delay;
For otherwise my soul must die.
Give me to eat, I pray.
O fount of living waters clear,
How long and weary is the way;
Refresh my soul which thirsts for you.
Give me to drink, I pray.
O loving Lord, my soul is chilled
By icy winds that round me play;
O fire of love, let me be filled
With warmth from you, I pray.
Like the blind man who cried to you:
Have mercy on me, Lord, I say,
O Mary’s son, that I may see;
Increase my faith, I pray.
Lord, I am sick beyond all cure,
But with a word you can display
Your power; without you death is sure.
O heal me, Lord, I pray.
My Lord, I knock upon your door;
Your favors I can ne’er repay,
Yet in my want I beg for more.
Fulfill my needs, I pray.
I am not worthy, Lord, that you
Should come into my house today
As heavenly food; say but the word
And heal my soul, I pray.
Lord, you alone are my true friend,
My treasure which can ne’er decay;
All earthly joys do you transcend.
Do visit me this day

St. Benedict Joseph Labre, Layman, Pilgrim (France, Italy: 1748-1783)

Aspirations for receiving Holy Communion:

My Good . . . my Good . . . my All . . . sole Object of my love. . . .O come . . . I desire you . . . I sigh after you . . . I wait for you . . . every little delay seems a thousand years. . . .Come, Lord Jesus, and delay not

St. Vincent Pallotti, Priest, Religious, 
Founder of the Society
of the Catholic Apostolate (Italy: 1798-1850)

My God, my mercy, although I have deserved . . . to remain deprived of the Most Holy Eucharist on the most holy altars, still I trust that You, my Jesus and infinite God, will always allow me to stay near You, that You will allow me to take communion every day until the end of my life, that You will inspire in me the keenest presence of mind before the Most Holy Eucharist — as though it were in my breast as it is in the holy pyxes, and within me as food for my soul, so that its merciful effects might be measured infinitely — that You will give me the grace to increase the number of those who adore and participate in the Most Holy Eucharist, and that You will make mine a life of perpetual preparation, participation, and thanksgiving in the infinite fruits of the Most Holy Eucharist


Ven. John Henry Cardinal Newman, Convert from Anglicanism,
Priest, Writer, and Apologist (England: 1801-1890)

Thou knowest, O my God, who madest us, that nothing can satisfy us but Thyself, and therefore Thou hast caused Thy own self to be meat and drink to us. O most adorable mystery! O most stupendous of mercies! Thou most Glorious, and Beautiful, and Strong, and Sweet, Thou didst know well that nothing else would support our immortal natures, our frail hearts, but Thyself; and so Thou didst take a human flesh and blood, that they, as being the flesh and blood of God, might be our life.

. . . How can I raise myself to such an act as to feed upon God? O my God, I am in a strait — shall I go forward, or shall I go back? I will go forward: I will go to meet Thee. I will open my mouth, and receive Thy gift. I do so with great awe and fear, but what else can I do? to whom should I go but to Thee? Who can save me but Thou? Who can cleanse me but Thou? Who can make me overcome myself but Thou? Who can raise my body from the grave but Thou? Therefore I come to Thee in all these my necessities, in fear, but in faith.

My God, Thou art my life; if I leave Thee, I cannot but thirst. . . . I wish to be clad in that new nature, which so longs for Thee from loving Thee, as to overcome in me the fear of coming to Thee. I come to Thee, O Lord, not only because I am unhappy without Thee, not only because I feel I need Thee, but because Thy grace draws me on to seek Thee for Thy own sake, because Thou art so glorious and beautiful. I come in great fear, but in greater love

St. Pius X, Pope, urged frequent reception of 
Holy Communion and lowering the age for First Holy Communion (Italy: 1835-1914)

O most sweet Jesus, who came into this world to give all souls the life of your grace, and who, to preserve and increase it in them, willed to be the daily Remedy of their weakness and the Food for each day, we humbly beseech you, by your heart so burning with love for us, to pour your divine Spirit upon all souls in order that those who have the misfortune to be in the state of mortal sin may, returning to you, find the life of grace which they have lost.

Through this same Holy Spirit, may those who are already living by this divine life devoutly approach your divine Table every day when it is possible, so that, receiving each day in Holy Communion the antidote of their daily venial sins and each day sustaining in themselves the life of your grace and thus ever purifying themselves the more, they may finally come to a happy life with you. Amen.

Excerpt from Praying In the Presence of Our Lord With the Saints by Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R. and James Monti. Copyright © 2001 by Our Sunday Visitor, Inc. All rights reserved. This title is out of print.