Thursday, 3 November 2011

A prayer I composed for holy hour in my parish tommorow

Reflection before the Blessed Sacrament.

Lord Jesus our faith teaches us that that the sacrifice on the Cross, when you bled and died for our sins, is made present at every Mass, and that you give yourself to us in Holy Communion as food for eternal life.  Lord we know that through the words of consecration spoken by the priest, ‘this is my body’ and ‘this is my blood’ that you become present sacramentally: body, blood, soul and divinity, right before our eyes. Lord we know that it’s not merely symbolic; we know that your love for us is so extravagant that you could not stop at the symbolic, but that you had to give us everything. Even your body. Even your blood. Lord by uniting ourselves spiritually with you in Holy Communion we unite our own prayers, works and sufferings to your perfect sacrifice. And so Lord, we come before you now, truly present in the greatest sacrament, to give you thanks, but also to ask you to increase our faith, our love and our reverence. As we listen now Lord, to these words from the holy Gospel, we ask that it will be truly you speaking to each of our hearts, just as you spoke to the crowds two thousand years ago.

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to St John

[Jesus said]I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’

The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ So Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 

Lord the hungry crowds challenged you; they wanted food, because the day before you fed them with five loaves and two fish. They knew that you had power to do anything, so they wanted more. Jesus they wanted more bread, but you wanted to give them the "the bread of life". Jesus they wanted to have their stomachs filled, but you wanted to fulfil their lives. It’s no wonder then that they said, ‘how can this man give us his flesh to eat’. But Lord, you told them all the more adamantly “the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.’ Again they said, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’. They were stupefied Lord because now they understood you correctly, and in great sadness Lord you saw their unbelief. One more time Lord you lovingly told them with even greater emphasis, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him" (John 6:53–56). 

Lord Jesus, we can only imagine your great sadness, as the first people began to doubt that you could love us enough to give us such a great gift. Lord, the Gospel tells us later, that it was in the rejection of the Eucharist, that Judas and many of the other followers began to fall away from you. We’re sorry Lord for the time’s when we doubt. Increase our faith. We’re sorry Lord for the times when we’re so distracted with other things that we forget to love and thank you in Holy Mass. Increase our love. We’re sorry Lord for the times when we haven’t shown reverence for your precious body and blood, by receiving you in a state of sin, by missing Mass, by chatting in church or whatever else it might be. Increase our reverence.

Lord, we thank you now for your great gift. Because you have loved us so much, we promise to love you and to give you everything in return. Jesus you have many plans for our lives, let us not be afraid, but through your grace give us the strength to say yes to everything you ask, and to do so with a smile Lord. It’s so amazing that you are here with us Lord, and there is nowhere we would rather be than here. You’re so humble Lord, and you have made yourself so vulnerable to us. Help us to imitate your humility, your gentleness and your extravagant love. Help us to make ourselves vulnerable to you so that we can see you as you truly are.

Thank you Jesus.

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