Coming back to Mass after the first lockdown in May was quite the experience for me. For many Catholics the time away from the Church was both painful and fruitful. It was definitely fruitful for me.
I was reading good books to further my understanding of the faith, I renewed my Consecration to Jesus through Mary in the form of a retreat using ’33 days to Morning Glory’, and we brought the liturgy to life in our home through liturgical living. This included all the rich traditions involved in the Lent and Eastertide seasons which brought such blessing to our family. My prayer life was soaring and the only thing that was missing was the sacraments.
The week we received the news that churches were open I was beside myself with excitement. Not to mention the stress of waiting to find out if our family made the list of the 100 parishioners scheduled to attend our usual Mass that weekend.
Once we received the news my heart turned to one very important subject – preparing to receive Jesus into my body once again.
The separation from the Eucharist made me realise I had been taking our access to the Eucharist for granted my whole life. As Catholics we have free access to the most amazing treasure to be found on this Earth – how often do we see this as a gift rather than a mere Sunday obligation? I was determined to never have this attitude again.
It was only days prior to our first Mass back under Level 2 restrictions when I came across this prayer which changed everything for me – and when I say everything I mean the way in which I receive the Eucharist. It is the best form of preparation for Holy Communion I have come across and I would love to share it with you.
But first a little background. For any of you who have consecrated yourself to Jesus through Mary and have an understanding of the theology behind it, this will make complete sense. If you haven’t done this – you need to, now – or at least find out more about it for yourself. I couldn’t possibly do it justice in a short blog post.
In summary Marian consecration is the act of entrusting one’s whole self to the protection, guidance and intercession of Our Lady. It was said by St Louis de Montfort that:
Mary is the safest, easiest, shortest and most perfect way of approaching Jesus.
Therefore entrusting oneself to her is surely the best path to sainthood. Don’t forget this is nothing new – Jesus Himself entrusted John, His beloved disciple, to Mary from the cross (John 19:26-27). She is mother to all Christians and her role is to help us grow in holiness and make it to Heaven.
Now with that in mind, when it comes to us unworthy sinners approaching the throne of grace to receive the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Himself, surely it makes sense to go with Mary who is “the most perfect way of approaching Jesus”.
In his book ‘True Devotion’ St Louis de Montfort teaches us a method of receiving Holy Communion which offers beautiful graces to us poor sinners. He teaches us to begin Mass by placing ourselves humbly in the presence of God with this prayer:
I renounce myself and all my inner dispositions, no matter how good my self-love may make them look. I’m all Thine my dear Mistress with all that I have and I take Thee for my all. Please give me Thy heart O Mary that I might receive Thy Son here with the same dispositions as Thine own. For it touches Thy Son’s glory to be put into a heart as sullied and inconstant as mine which would not fail either to lessen his glory or to destroy it. But if Thou will come and dwell with me in order to receive Thy Son, He will be well received by Thee without danger of being outraged or unnoticed for “God is in the midst of her. She shall not be moved."
How beautiful is that? Mary will give us her Immaculate heart for her Son to dwell within us in a manner fit for a King! The prayer goes on:
I know that of all the gifts that I have given Thee of my own goods I have given Thee nothing worthy of Thee, but with this Gift I make Thee the same Gift as the Eternal Father gave Thee. And I know that by giving Thee this Gift I give Thee more than if I gave Thee all the gifts in the entire world.
Doesn’t this just remind you of when you were a child and you wanted to give your dad a gift but you had no money of your own? So your mum helped you either make something or buy something which she helped you to wrap. I have a new appreciation of where I’ve done this for my own sons – how our Blessed Mother must enjoy so much more doing this for us.
The prayer concludes:
And finally Jesus still desires to take His pleasure and repose in Thee even in my soul, though it be far filthier and poorer than the stable where He did not hesitate to come simply because Thou were there. I take Thee for my all, please give me Thy heart O Mary.
There are also suggested prayers during and after Holy Communion which can be found within ‘True Devotion’.
What a blessing to have received this prayer only days prior to my first reception of the Eucharist post-lockdown. Approaching the throne of grace with Mary’s Immaculate heart was like nothing I could ever describe. Standing in the line for Holy Communion with tears streaming down my face in anticipation of reunion with my Saviour gave me a small glimpse of what Mary may have felt as she prepared to receive her Son back into her body each time she prepared herself for Holy Communion.
Mary allowed me to meet my Lord with a mother’s heart. I entered the pew to pray after receiving Jesus, not quite managing to hold myself together, when out of the blue my sweet son James embraced me with the tightest squeeze. It felt like it lasted an eternity and was exactly what I needed in that moment – a tangible, loving embrace which I felt Jesus was giving me through the gift of my son.
I encourage you to try this prayer for yourself and share it with others. Perhaps you could discuss how this prayer has impacted you in the newly formed Facebook group we created to accompany the conference. Join the discussion here.
Registrations are now open for Evangelion's 'In His Name' conference, so don’t forget to register. God bless!