“It is at the altar that, in order to console the sufferings of our exile, Jesus offers us a manna more appealing than that of the desert; there that He gives us His flesh to eat and His blood to drink; there that He becomes present in such a way within our soul, His heart speaking to us with all of its affection, and bringing our own hearts to beat with His.” – Blessed Basil Moreau, Sermon on the Sacred Heart
Among young men who have entered the seminary, there is a recurring theme that frequent attendance at Mass – daily if possible – was an essential aid in their discernment. This comes as no surprise given that the vocations of priesthood and religious life find their source and summit in the Most Holy Eucharist – a point of which Blessed Basil Moreau frequently reminded his spiritual sons.
Beyond simply attending Mass, however, it is important that we learn to pray with the Eucharist well, both in the Mass and in Eucharistic Adoration, so that we can reap the fullness of the graces possible in receiving and adoring our Lord, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity. In particular, through the Eucharist, we can build our faith, casting away fears and overcoming obstacles, by learning to surrender our lives to God and to be filled in turn by His life. In this way, we can let Christ bring our own hearts to beat in unison with His.
- Preparation – We read and meditate on the Scripture readings, coming to Mass prepared to listen actively and attentively during the Liturgy of the Word. We also review our previous week – graces and struggles, joys and sorrows – coming prepared to offer them to the Lord during the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
- Offertory – The gifts of bread and wine, besides being the Eucharistic elements, symbolize the gifts of our daily lives. As they are brought to the altar, we envision ourselves bringing our whole lives and placing them on the altar as well in sacrifice to God. This offering of our lives to God in the Eucharist, especially of our fears and doubts, empowers us to continue this offering throughout our daily lives.
- Communion – Having given our lives to God on the altar, in Holy Communion we receive in return the very life of God. This blessed exchange of our lives for God’s divine life increases our faith that, in handing over our lives to God in our vocations, we only stand to gain. This beautiful moment of union with God has been identified by the saints as a powerful time for prayer – to ask that our will be united ever more with God’s – but it is also a powerful time to listen to the Lord speaking in our hearts.
- Sending Forth – The Mass ends quickly after its apex with us being dismissed and sent forth “in peace to love and serve the Lord.” It is a powerful reminder that we are all called and sent by God and an important time to ask the Lord in faith: On what mission are You sending me?
The following are prayers from the Holy Cross Directory of Devotional Prayer to pray at different times during the Mass:
Prayer before Mass
O my God, I adore and acknowledge You as my Lord.
Everything that I am and possess comes from You.
Since You deserve unconditional honor and praise,
and I am unable to return the fullness of Your love,
I offer You and unite myself to the unconditional love and obedience
of Jesus Your Son, who offers Himself to You in the mystery of this Eucharist.
As Jesus does, I wish to do:
In union with Him I offer myself to You.
In union with Him, I surrender myself to Your will.
In union with Him, I adore You and give my heart to You.
As Jesus prays, I wish to pray:
In union with Him, I pray for the forgiveness of my enemies.
In union with Him, I pray for the consolation of Your Spirit.
In union with Him, I pray that You will receive my spirit.
O my God, deepen my love for Jesus Your Son
through my participation in this Eucharist
so that my thoughts, conduct, actions, and affections
may be more deeply conformed to His. Amen.
Prayer after Holy Communion
My beloved is mine and I am His.
Yes, O my God, all is consummated;
You have given Yourself entirely to me,
and I give myself entirely to You.
I come to offer myself undivided and irretrievably;
in short, I will be Yours forever.
I offer You my understanding,
that it may be engaged in contemplating Your greatness.
I offer You my memory that it may call to mind Your blessings.
I offer You my heart that it may dedicate to You
all its sentiments, its affections, and its inclinations.
I offer You my body and senses to devote them to Your service and good pleasure.
I offer You and I dedicate to You, my Savior, all that I have and all that I am.
All is Yours! Amen.
The Eucharist is the Sacrament of God’s Love. Next to Holy Communion, prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament is the greatest time for us to be heart-to-heart with God: to share what is on our hearts, to listen to the Lord in silence, and to grow in God’s Love, which is really present to us, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity.
The following are prayers from the Holy Cross Directory of Devotional Prayer that can be prayed during Eucharistic Adoration:
I adore You, Jesus, true God and true man,
present in the Holy Eucharist,
kneeling before You and united in spirit
with all the faithful on earth and all the saints in heaven.
In gratitude for so great a blessing, I love You with all my heart
for You are worthy of all praise and adoration.
Lord Jesus Christ,
may I never offend You with my lack of love.
May Your Eucharistic presence refresh me in body and soul.
Mary, Mother of the Eucharistic Lord, pray for me
and obtain for me a greater love for Jesus. Amen.
My Lord Jesus Christ,
Your Eucharistic presence teaches me
how to love You as You loved me.
In Your great love for me
You continue to give Yourself, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity,
in this Sacrament of Your love.
As I pray here in Your Eucharistic presence,
enkindle in me the fire of Your gospel.
Nourish me with Your love and compassion,
so that I may be Your living present to all I meet. Amen.