True Devotion and Holy Communion
by
Timothy Duff

      There is no better time to focus on truly and worthily receiving Christ into our very beings and being conscious of this great and wondrous gift throughout our entire day than during this span of a week when Corpus Christi is still fresh in our minds, we celebrate the glorious Coronation of Blessed Mary our Immaculate Queen, and prepare for the great Feast of the Sacred Heart on Friday.

      "I am Thine, and all that I have is Thine, my most loving Jesus, through Mary, Thy most holy Mother."

    Most certainly Our Lord Jesus Christ truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament was the very heart of the life of our Immaculate Queen. She lived from Communion to Communion, constantly either thanking our Divine Savior for coming to her in her previous Holy Communion, or fervently desiring Him to come to her in her next Holy Communion.

    Since Our Lady is our consummate model for receiving Holy Communion, I thought it beneficial to describe a simple method of combining Holy Slavery with the reception of Holy Communion. There is probably nothing original in this method, being rather a synthesis of various passages in True Devotion and other approved writings (though I certainly subject it to the judgment of the directors of souls if they deem anything worthy of censure in it).

    I had wanted to speak about this method at last fall's Fatima Conference, but time ran out on me (as did some of the audience...). I had hoped then to introduce this method to students at Mount St. Michael's Academy, but it is perhaps better done in an article which can be reread at will, and from which a wider audience could benefit. I hope all who read this article will consider using this method at least occasionally (for example, on feasts of Our Lady), though it could also prove quite valuable when used habitually. This method of preparing for Holy Communion is fairly short and simple. It can therefore be used in conjunction with the method of hearing Mass each individual may currently use. Its brevity may also be helpful for those who are "busy" (in a good way) during Mass-servers, choir members, etc. I have used this method for years and find that often I am so involved in my duties during Mass (I am choir director and also serve Mass frequently), and have to concentrate so much on these duties, that there is little time to "squeeze in" personal devotion; yet I always seem to find time to use this method, and find it helpful. I hope others will as well.

Remote Preparation

    During your morning prayers, recall the last time you received Holy Communion and thank your Savior for coming to you then. Then beg Him, through the intercession of our Immaculate Queen, and by the love with which she received Him during her life, to prepare you to receive Him in your next Holy Communion. If you know when this will be (e.g., that very day, the following Sunday, etc.), make an act of desire for this moment to come, longing for the embrace of the Eucharistic God Who deigns to make your poor heart His dwelling place on earth.

    Before Mass, if you plan to go to Holy Communion, renew the acts made in the morning, praying Our Lady and your guardian angel to drive away anything (distractions, lukewarmness, etc.) which would hinder you from receiving your God fervently and worthily in Holy Communion.

Near Preparation

    At a suitable time during Mass (perhaps during the Offertory), the following prayer is said:

       "I beg of Thee, O my Savior Jesus Christ, to give me Thy most holy Mother to prepare me to receive Thee worthily in Holy Communion."

    Turning to our Immaculate Queen, the following is said:

        "O sweet and Immaculate Virgin Mary, thou most holy Mother of God and loving Mother of men, I beg of thee that thou wouldst, with great St. Joseph and all the angels who assisted therein, come and prepare my heart and soul as thou didst prepare the cave and crib of Bethlehem, for my heart and my soul are poor and dark and dirty, having been the abiding place of animals (my sins). I beg of thee to give me the perfume of thy graces, the fire of thy love, and the purity of thy Heart, so that my heart and my soul may become a poor, but fit, abiding place for the King of Heaven and earth. And I beg of thee that, when Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ comes to me in Holy Communion, thou wouldst with great St. Joseph and all the angels and saints come and worship Our Lord, thank Him, praise Him, love Him and exalt His infinite condescending mercy above all forever for coming to me, His poor vile creature.

        "I beg of thee to give me a share in thy dispositions when thou didst receive Our Lord in Holy Communion, especially thy profound faith, thy ardent love, thy divine charity, thy extreme humility and docility to the Will of God, thy purity of mind, body, soul and intention, and thy ardent love for thy Divine Son in Holy Communion.

        "Finally, I beg of thee, O my Mother, to give me thy Heart to receive thy Divine Son in Holy Communion, so that I may please Him with Thee, and Thee with Him."

Immediate Preparation

    While walking up to the communion rail, and/or while kneeling at it, the following may be said once, or repeated often (the short form for the Renewal of Total Consecration):

        "I am Thine, and all that I have is Thine, my most loving Jesus, through Mary, Thy most holy Mother."

During Holy Communion

    Directly after receiving the Son of God, and through Him the Three Divine Persons, while walking back to one's place, the three Fatima prayers may be recited: (N.B. I personally add the "O Most Holy Trinity..." prayer to the beginning of the second and third, to emphasize the fact that by receiving the Son one thereby receives the Father and the Holy Ghost, as the Blessed Trinity is inseparably united.)

        "O most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I adore Thee pro-foundly. I offer Thee the most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in tabernacles throughout the world (and now present in the poor tabernacle of my heart), in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners.

        "O most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I adore Thee pro-foundly. My God, my God, I love Thee in the Most Blessed Sacrament. "O most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I adore Thee pro-foundly. My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love Thee. I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love Thee."

    Time is then spent in personal devotions, prayers, petitions, etc., as prompted by the Holy Ghost or formed by pious habit.

    It is also highly beneficial to spend at least a few moments in silent adoration, lovingly humiliating yourself before the God Who made you and died for you, "working out your salvation in fear and trembling." "Sweet silence, my soul, and adore."

To "Close" Communion

    Lastly, when ready to resume Mass or one's duties (serving, singing, etc.), this "last act" is said, which, as it were, closes and seals the more intense time of sacramental Communion (though thanksgiving could and should certainly continue):

        "And now, my beloved Savior Jesus Christ, I give Thee my kiss; may it not be the kiss of Judas, and I give Thee entirely to Thy Holy Mother that she may present Thee to the Eternal Father in atonement for my sins and the sins of the whole world."

After Mass

    Of course, a thanksgiving should be made after Mass. Be sure to thank Our Lady for assisting you, and think about how Our Lord was always present in her Immaculate Heart, how she carried Him to others and always lived in His divine Presence. Try to imitate her therein.

Throughout the Day

    Whenever you think of it, turn your attention briefly to Our Lord Jesus Christ sacramentally present in the tabernacle (whether He is 50 feet or 500 miles away) and spiritually present in your heart (always quite close), and make acts of love, desire, gratitude, etc. Perhaps you could pray: "O my beloved Savior Jesus Christ, truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament, be Thou the Heart of my life and the Life of my heart!"

Evening Prayers

    As a part of evening prayers, thank Our Lord if He condescended to come to you that day in Holy Communion, and/or make fervent acts of desire to receive Him at your next Holy Communion (which could be the next day, the next Sunday, or even weeks away for some who cannot attend Mass daily or weekly). Make whatever acts of contrition, love, adoration, zeal, gratitude, etc., the Holy Ghost inspires you to make; and it would be good to include a fervent spiritual Communion.

Conclusion

    With minimal adjustments, this method could also be used for spiritual communion, e.g. replacing "truly present in the poor tabernacle of my heart" with "spiritually present."

    While this method may seem somewhat complicated at first, once practiced, and especially if made habitual, it is really quite simple and "natural." Of course, it may also be used in conjunction with other devotions for Mass and Holy Communion (as, for example, come naturally during the various parts of the ecclesiastical year).

    I hope many souls, young and old, will benefit by this method and reap the fruits desired by our Holy Father Pope St. Pius X, who especially desired children to form the habit of frequent and fervent Holy Communion, knowing this to be the single best way to ensure they grow up as ardent and fervent Catholics who will sanctify themselves and be as leaven to help lift up a fallen world.

    If our happiness is in the tabernacle, in Our Lord's Sacred Heart, then we shall experience His true peace, His love and consolations, which shall brighten even the darkest hours of the trek through this vale of tears. And if we are truly happy even in our sorrows, what shall we have in our joys?

        "Soul of my life, Life of my love, Love of my heart, Heart of my joy, Joy of my soul, Soul of my life, Life of my love..."


      (Published in Reign of Mary #86, Summer 1996)