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A collection of traditional prayers, composed by some of the Church’s greatest doctors and saints, in preparation to attend the Holy Mass and receive the Eucharist. Prayers for sinners, for the faithful, for the Church and for oneself.
Act of Oblation before Mass:
ETERNAL Father, I offer Thee the Sacrifice wherein Thy dear Son, Jesus, offered Himself upon the Cross and which He now renews upon this altar:
To adore Thee and to render to Thee that honour which is Thy due, acknowledging Thy supreme dominion over all things and their absolute dependence on Thee, for Thou art our first beginning and our last end;
To give Thee thanks for countless benefits received;
To appease Thy Justice, provoked to anger by so many sins, and to offer Thee worthy satisfaction for the same;
And finally to implore Thy Grace and Mercy for myself, for all those who are in tribulation and distress, for all poor sinners, for the whole world and for the blessed souls in purgatory. Amen.
O GOD, in Whose sight every soul may well fear and every conscience tremble, be gracious to every cry of sorrow and heal the wounds of sins in all. Even as none of us is free from fault, so may none be a stranger to Thy Mercy. Amen.
(Rite of Evesham, 13th Century; taken from The Order of Mass: Missal of Blessed John XXIII by Michael Sternbeck)
For the Church:
ALMIGHTY, Eternal God, by ever giving strength to our weakness, Thou enable the Church to flourish even amidst its trials, so that when it appears to men to be utterly cast down, then rather does it gloriously prevail. Whilst, then, it accepts affliction as a proving of its faith, let it persevere, by Thy grace, in triumphant loyalty. Amen.
(Missal of Robert of Jumieges, 11th Century; taken from The Order of Mass: Missal of Blessed John XXIII by Michael Sternbeck)
For the Faithful:
TO ALL who live in the Truths of the Faith give grace, most tender Father, that they may lead upright and holy lives, never departing from Thy teaching. To those who as yet have not found faith in Thee, grant that before they quit this life they may believe and know the love of Thy Holy Name. Then, having known it, may they keep it firm and inviolate. Let the Sacrifice of Thy Body and Blood win pardon of the sins for the living and the dead. Amen.
(Anselm of Bury St. Edmunds, 12th Century; taken from The Order of Mass: Missal of Blessed John XXIII by Michael Sternbeck)
In Preparation to Receive Communion
From Blessed be God: A Complete Catholic Prayer Book:
Holy Communion is the receiving of the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ under the appearance of bread. We should never approach the holy table unless free from grievous sin, and without some previous devout preparation. The benefit we derive from our Communion is in proportion to our devotion and to the preparation we make for them.
Prayer of St. Thomas Aquinas
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, behold I come to the Sacrament of Thine only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: I come as one infirm to the physician of life, as one unclean to the fountain of mercy, as one blind to the light of everlasting brightness, as one poor and needy to the Lord of heaven and earth. Therefore I implore the abundance of Thy measureless bounty that Thou wouldst vouchsafe to heal my infirmity, wash my uncleanness, enlighten my blindness, enrich my poverty and clothe my nakedness, that I may receive the Bread of Angels, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, with such reverence and humility, with such sorrow and devotion, with such purity and faith, with such purpose and intention as may be profitable to my soul’s salvation.
Grant unto me, I pray, the grace of receiving not only the Sacrament of our Lord’s Body and Blood, but also the grace and power of the Sacrament. O most gracious God, grant me so to receive the Body of Thine only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, which He took from the Virgin Mary, as to merit to be incorporated into His mystical Body, and to be numbered amongst His members. O most loving Father, give me grace to behold forever Thy beloved Son with His face at last unveiled, whom I now purpose to receive under the sacramental veil here below. Amen.
Prayer of St. Ambrose
LORD Jesus Christ, I approach Thy banquet table in fear and trembling, for I am a sinner, and dare not rely on my own worth, but only on Thy goodness and mercy. I am defiled by my many sins in body and soul, and by my unguarded thoughts and words. Gracious God of majesty and awe, I seek Thy protection, I look for Thy healing. Poor troubled sinner that I am, I appeal to Thee, the fountain of all mercy. I cannot bear Thy judgment, but I trust in Thy salvation. Lord, I show my wounds to Thee and uncover my shame before Thee. I know my sins are many and great, and they fill me with fear, but I hope in Thy mercies, for they cannot be numbered.
Lord Jesus Christ, Eternal King, God and man, crucified for mankind, look upon me with mercy and hear my prayer, for I trust in Thee. Have mercy on me, full of sorrow and sin, for the depth of Thy compassion never ends.
Praise to Thee saving sacrifice, offered on the wood of the Cross for me and for all mankind. Praise to the noble and Precious Blood, flowing from the wounds of my crucified Lord Jesus Christ and washing away the sins of the whole world.
Remember, Lord, Thy creature, whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy Blood; I repent my sins, and I long to put right what I have done. Merciful Father, take away all my offences and sins; purify me in body and soul, and make me worthy to taste the Holy of Holies. May Thy Body and Blood, which I intend to receive, although I am unworthy, be for me the remission of my sins, the washing away of my guilt, the end of my evil thoughts, and the rebirth of my better instincts. May it incite me to do the works pleasing to Thee, and a firm defence of body and soul against the wiles of my enemies. Amen.
Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary
O MOST Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of gentleness and mercy, I, a miserable and unworthy sinner, fly to thy protection with every sentiment of humility and love; and I implore of thy loving kindness that thou wouldst vouchsafe graciously to be near me, and all who throughout the whole Church are to receive the Body and Blood of thy Son this day, even as thou wert near thy sweetest Son as He hung bleeding on the Cross. Aided by thy gracious help, may we worthily approach this august Sacrament. Amen.
Prayer to St. Joseph
HAPPY and blessed art thou, O Joseph, to whom it was given not only to see and to hear that God Whom many kings desired to see, and saw not, to hear, and heard not; but also to bear Him in thine arms, to embrace Him, to clothe Him, and to guard and defend Him.
V/. Pray for us, O blessed Joseph.
R/. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray.
O God, who hast given unto us a royal priesthood, vouchsafe, we beseech Thee, that as Blessed Joseph was found worthy to handle with his hands, and bear within his arms, Thine only-begotten Son, born of the Virgin Mary, so may we be made fit, by cleanness of heart and innocence of works, worthily to receive the most sacred Body and Blood of Thy Son, now in this present, and deserve to attain an everlasting reward in the world to come. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Forming of One’s Intention
Joy with peace,
amendment of life,
space for true repentance,
the grace and comfort of the Holy Ghost,
perseverance in good works,
a contrite and humble heart,
and a happy consummation of my life,
grant unto me,
O Almighty and merciful Lord.
The Soul’s Longing for God
Qual dilecta, anima.
The soul aspireth after heaven; rejoicing in the mean time, in being in the communion of God’s church upon earth.
 Unto the end, for the winepresses, a psalm for the sons of Core. 
HOW lovely are Thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts!  My soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God.  For the sparrow hath found herself a house, and the turtle a nest for herself where she may lay her young ones: Thy altars, O Lord of hosts, my king and my God.  Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, O Lord: they shall praise Thee for ever and ever.
. Blessed is the man whose help is from Thee: in his heart he hath disposed to ascend by steps*,  In the vale of tears, in the place which he hath set.  For the lawgiver shall give a blessing, they shall go from virtue to virtue: the God of gods shall be seen in Sion.  O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob.  Behold, O God our protector: and look on the face of Thy Christ.
. For better is one day in thy courts above thousands. I have chosen to be an abject in the house of my God, rather than to dwell in the tabernacles of sinners.  For God loveth mercy and truth: the Lord will give grace and glory.  He will not deprive of good things them that walk in innocence: O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in Thee.
Gloria Patri …
*  In his heart he hath disposed to ascend by steps: Ascensiones in corde suo disposuit. As by steps men ascended to the temple of God situated on a hill; so the good Christian ascends towards the eternal temple by certain steps of virtue disposed or ordered within the heart: and this whilst he lives as yet in the body, in this vale of tears, the place which man hath set: that is, which he hath brought himself to: being cast out of paradise for his sin.
From Blessed be God: A Complete Catholic Prayer Book:
When the communion bell rings, go quietly up to the railing with hands devoutly folded, and kneel. As the priest turns around to pronounce the words of absolution, renew your act of contrition, and bless yourself. As he approaches to give you the Blessed Sacrament, moderately raise your head, open your mouth, resting the end of your tongue on the lower lip. While receiving communion reflect on the words which the priest then utters: “May the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve your soul unto life everlasting. Amen.” After this, return to your place, having your eyes cast down and hands again reverently folded.
Thanksgiving after Holy Communion:
From Blessed be God: A Complete Catholic Prayer Book:
When you have returned to your seat, try to reflect on the Sacred Mysteries you have just received, and give free expression to your devotion in your own words. The following prayers will be found very useful as aids to your sentiments of worship, thanksgiving, petition, etc.
Meditation of St.Therese
O HOW sweet it is, the first kiss of Jesus to my soul. Yes, it is a kiss of love. I feel I am loved, and I too say: “I love Thee, I give myself to Thee forever!”
Jesus asks nothing of me, demands no sacrifice. Already for a long time past, He and I have watched and understood each other. This day our meeting is no longer a simple look but a fusion. No longer are we two. I have disappeared as the drop of water which loses itself in the depths of the ocean.
Jesus alone remains: The Master, the King.
Prayer of St. Thomas Aquinas
I GIVE thanks to Thee, O Lord, most holy, Father almighty, eternal God, that Thou hast vouchsafed, for no merit of mine own, but out of Thy pure mercy, to appease the hunger of my soul with the precious Body and Blood of Thy Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Humbly I implore Thee, let not this holy communion be to me an increase of guilt unto my punishment, but an availing plea unto pardon and salvation. Let it be to me the armour of faith and the shield of good will. May it root out from my heart all vice; may it utterly subdue my evil passions and all my unruly desires. May it perfect me in charity and patience; in humility and obedience; and in all other virtues. May it be my sure defence against the snares laid for me by my enemies, visible and invisible. May it restrain and quiet all my evil impulses, and make me ever cleave to Thee Who art the one true God. May I owe to it a happy ending of my life.
And do Thou, O heavenly Father, vouchsafe one day to call me, a sinner, to that ineffable banquet, where Thou, together with Thy Son and the Holy Ghost, art to Thy saints true and unfailing light, fullness of content, joy for evermore, gladness without alloy, consummate and everlasting happiness. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayer of St. Bonaventure
PIERCE, O most Sweet Lord Jesus, my in-most soul with the most joyous and healthful wound of Thy love, with true, serene, and most holy apostolic charity, that my soul may ever languish and melt with love and longing for Thee, that in longing for Thee, that it may yearn for Thee and faint for Thy courts, and long to be dissolved and to be with Thee.
Grant that my soul may hunger after Thee, the bread of angels, the refreshment of holy souls, our daily and super-substantial bread, having all sweetness and savour and every delight of taste; let my heart ever hunger after and feed upon Thee, upon Whom the angels desire to look, and may my in-most soul be filled with the sweetness of Thy savour; may it ever thirst after Thee, the fountain of life, the fountain of wisdom and knowledge, the fountain of eternal light, the torrent of pleasure, the richness of the house of God.
May it ever compass Thee, seek Thee, find Thee, run to Thee, attain Thee, meditate upon Thee, speak of Thee, and do all things to the praise and glory of Thy Name, with humility and discretion, with love and delight, with ease and affection, and with perseverance unto the end.
May Thou alone be ever my hope, my entire assurance, my riches, my delight, my pleasure, my joy, my rest and tranquility, my peace, my sweetness, my fragrance, my sweet savour, my food, my refreshment, my refuge, my help, my wisdom, my portion, my possession and my treasure, in Whom may my mind and my heart be fixed and firmly rooted immovably henceforth and forever. Amen.
Prayer to Our Lord
I BESEECH Thee, O most meek and loving Jesus, that this immortal Host may return Thee thanks on my behalf, may reconcile and restore me to Thee. May it procure pardon for me, a sinner, and lead me to everlasting life. Amen.
HOW SWEET and lovely is this Bread of heaven which Thou hast given us! How wonderful is the rest, how full the peace which they experience who receive Thee after a sincere and sorrowful confession of their sins! For this, O my Jesus, be Thou praised a thousand times! In the matter of sin I have been most unfortunate; but now not only do I enjoy true comfort of soul, but I also believe that I have had a foretaste of the peace of heaven. How true it is, O Lord, that our soul was made for Thee, and can enjoy true peace only when it rests in Thee! From the bottom of my heart, therefore, do I thank Thee and I firmly resolve ever to fly sin and its occasions and to take up my lasting dwelling in Thy divine Heart, from which I hope the grace and help to love Thee until death. Amen.
Anima Christi (Soul of Christ)
SOUL of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy Wounds hide me.
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee.
From the malignant enemy, defend me.
In the hour of my death, call me,
And bid me come to Thee.
That with Thy saints, I may praise Thee.
Forever and ever.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, may the whole world burn with love for Thee! (x3)
Prayer to the Blessed Virgin #1
O MOST holy, O most benign, O noble and glorious Virgin Mary, who wast worthy to bear in thy sacred womb the Creator of all, and at thy virginal beast to nourish Him Whose true, real, and most holy Body and Blood I, an unworthy sinner, have just now dared to receive: vouchsafe, I humbly beseech thee, to intercede with Him for me a sinner; that whatsoever, by ignorance or neglect, by accident or irreverence, I have left undone, or have done amiss, in this unspeakably holy Sacrament, may be pardoned through thy prayers to the same our Lord Jesus Christ, thy SON, Who with the FATHER and the HOLY GHOST livest and reignest forever and ever. Amen.
Prayer to the Blessed Virgin #2
O MARY, thou who desirest so much to see Jesus loved, if thou love me, this is the favour which I ask of thee, to obtain for me a great love of Jesus Christ. Thou obtainest from thy Son whatever pleases thee; pray, then, for me, and console me. Obtain for me a great love towards thee, who, of all creatures, art the most loving and beloved of God. And through that grief which thou didst suffer on Calvary, when thou beheldest Jesus expire on the Cross, obtain for me a happy death, that by loving Jesus and thee, my Mother, I may come to love thee forever in heaven. Amen.
Prayer of St. Padre Pio
STAY with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have Thou present so that I do not forget Thee.
Thou knowest how easily I abandon Thee.
Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak, and I need Thy strength, so that I may not fall so often.
Stay with me, Lord, for Thou art my life, and without Thee, I am without fervour.
Stay with me, Lord, for Thou art my light, and without Thee, I am in darkness.
Stay with me, Lord, to show me Thy Will.
Stay with me, Lord, so that I hear Thy Voice and follow Thee.
Stay with me, Lord, for I desire to love Thee very much, and always be in Thy company.
Stay with me, Lord, if Thou wishest me to be faithful to Thee.
Stay with me, Lord, for as poor as my soul is, I want it to be a place of consolation for Thee, a nest of love.
Prayer before a Crucifix
BEHOLD, O Kind and most sweet Jesus, before Thy Face I humbly kneel, and with the most fervent desire of soul, I pray and beseech Thee to impress upon my heart lively sentiments of faith, hope and charity, true contrition for my sins and a firm purpose of amendment.
With deep affection and grief of soul, I ponder within myself, mentally contemplating Thy five Wounds, having before my eyes the words which David the Prophet spoke concerning Thee: “They have pierced my hands and my feet, they have numbered all my bones.” Amen.
Conclude with Our Father, Hail Mary & Glory Be for the Holy Father’s intentions.
(Pre-1968 Plenary Indulgence under normal conditions: Confession, Communion, etc. and above prayers for the Holy Father.)
An exhortation to praise God for the coming of Christ and his kingdom.
 A canticle for David himself, when the house was built* after the captivity.
SING ye to the Lord a new canticle: sing to the Lord, all the earth.  Sing ye to the Lord and bless his name: shew forth his salvation from day to day.  Declare his glory among the Gentiles: his wonders among all people.  For the Lord is great, and exceedingly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods.  For all the gods of the Gentiles are devils: but the Lord made the heavens.
. Praise and beauty are before him: holiness and majesty in his sanctuary.  Bring ye to the Lord, O ye kindreds of the Gentiles, bring ye to the Lord glory and honour:  Bring to the Lord glory unto his name. Bring up sacrifices, and come into his courts:  Adore ye the Lord in his holy court. Let all the earth be moved at his presence.  Say ye among the Gentiles, the Lord hath reigned. For he hath corrected the world, which shall not be moved: he will judge the people with justice.
. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad, let the sea be moved, and the fulness thereof:  The fields and all things that are in them shall be joyful. Then shall all the trees of the woods rejoice  Before the face of the Lord, because he cometh: because he cometh to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with justice, and the people with his truth.
Gloria Patri …
* “When the house was built”: Alluding to that time, and then ordered to be sung: but principally relating to the building of the church of Christ, after our redemption from the captivity of Satan.
And also …
Last Gospel and Leonine Prayers:
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, may the whole world burn with love for Thee!