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Sunday, August 1, 2021

Sunday Meditation: Book 4 of the Imitation of Christ on the Eucharist

This morning I began Book 4 of The Imitation of Christ which is devoted to the Eucharist. Chapter 1 describes the great reverence we should have in approaching the Sacrament. My immediate thought was the prayer:

O Sacrament most holy, O Sacrament divine, all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine. 

What a wonderful exhortation to make throughout the day as, at every minute, the Mass is being offered somewhere in the world. Is there anything for which we could or should be more thankful? Jesus gave us His very Self to consume in order to make us more like Him. But that can only happen if we receive with great devotion and love. 

I'm ashamed to admit that I often spend Mass struggling with distractions and inattentiveness. It is less acute, at least on Sunday, since I began attending the Latin Mass and following it in my missal. (I go to my novus ordo parish on weekdays.) Those who claim the faithful were never involved in the Mass until Vatican II changed the liturgy have no idea what they are talking about. Noise doesn't equal involvement. 

A number of years ago I memorized a section of Book 4 chapter 9 to pray in thanksgiving after Communion:

Lord, all things in heaven and on earth are Yours. I desire to give myself to You in willing abandonment, and to remain Your forever. Lord, in simplicity of heart, I offer myself to You this day, always to be Your obedient servant and a sacrifice of perpetual praise.

Accept me with this holy sacrifice of Your precious Body, which I offer You today in the presence of Your assisting Angels, for my salvation and that of all Your people.

Lord, I offer you all my sins and offenses, committed before You and Your holy Angels, from the day I was first able to sin until now. Placing them upon Your altar of reconciliation, I implore You to burn and consume them in the fire of Your love.

Wipe clean from the slate of my conscience every stain of sin and every fault; and restore to me Your grace, which I have lost through sin, granting me full pardon of all, and in Your mercy receiving me with the kiss of peace.

May God bless you on this Sunday. Yesterday was the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola who loved The Imitation of Christ. After the Bible, I can hardly recommend a book more enthusiastically, one that is likely to unite you to the mind of Christ. May God bless us all with the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit as we continue our journey toward the heavenly Jerusalem.

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