ANIMA CHRISTI: Chapter Four (Part Two)—In The Light Of God’s Word by Marie Paul Curley

Meditations on a Timeless Prayer

Chapter One (Part Two)—In The Light Of God’s Word by Marie Paul Curley

From Soul of Christ

United ourselves to the Precious Blood of Jesus, we place before the Lord our intentions: to alleviate the sufferings of the world, especially of the innocent victims of violence, war, and oppression.  We may wish to pray especially for those who witness to Christ in the face of persecution and threat of death.

Theme for Holy Hour:
Adoring the Victorious Lamb of God
Suggested opening hymn: “Pange Lingua / Tantum Ergo” (written by Saint Thomas Aquinas with various translations into English, such as: “Sing My Tongue the Savior’s Glory,” translated by Edward Caswell).  Spend quiet time in silent adoration.

Adoring Jesus In His Word

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come… and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the Earth.

To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Look! He is coming with the clouds;
every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him;
and on his account all the tribes of the Earth will wail.
So it is to be.  Amen.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. (Revelation 1:4-8)

Jesus Loves Us

In this reading, we celebrate the victory of Jesus over sin and death.  In baptism, we first receive the fruits of his victory: our true identity as children of God.  In the Eucharist, receiving Jesus’s blood strengthens our identity as children of God so that we can abide in God’s love, in God’s life.

Images of the Precious Blood of Jesus – beating through his Sacred Heart, running down his sacred body, soaking into the wood of the cross, trickling into the ground – arouse an urgent desire to kiss his sacred wounds, to somehow express our love in return.  Shedding one’s blood and the giving of one’s own life for the sake of another is the most sacred and powerful expression of love – and Jesus did this for us.

Jesus gave himself completely for us.  The Gospel of John offers us a very powerful detail about Jesus’s passion, when the soldier pierces the side of Jesus with a lance.  Although Jesus had already died, the very last drops of his blood pour out from his heart.  Jesus saved nothing for himself, even in death.  His blood, like his love, is completely poured out for our sake.

Jesus wants us to receive the full abundance of his love.  “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly,” (John 10:10).  Receiving God’s unconditional love changes everything.  We are changed, at the very core of our being.  Even though we still go through all the trials and difficulties of life, we experience them differently.  We are no longer tossed about by our sufferings but rooted in the love of the infinite and all-powerful Creator, redeemed from our own sinfulness by the Son of God, and sanctified by the indwelling Spirit.  In every experience, no matter how difficult or tragic, we can find comfort, strength, security, and even joy on this sure foundation of God’s love.  Let us pray for the grace to know and experience always more “the breadth and length and height and depth” of God’s love for us in Christ, as Saint Paul describes it, (see Ephesians 3:18-19).

As an act of faith in Christ’s love, pray Saint Paul’s prayer in Ephesians, (3:16-21).

Jesus Freed Us by His Blood

Jesus could give himself so completely, so freely, because even while on Earth he lived in the Trinitarian communion of love.  And he wants us to enter into that same life-giving communion.  In becoming a child of God and a brother or sister of Christ, we share in the “riches of his grace,” in the fullness of his relationship with the Father and the Spirit.

Following Jesus Way

In every Communion we receive, Jesus invites us to dive into the flood of God’s love, allowing Divine Love to flow through us and transform us.

Pause to thank Jesus for the gift of the Eucharist and for the promise of his love and life in every Communion you have received.

When we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, we are transformed a little more into him.  In one of his meditations, Blessed James Alberione used the comparison of an ill person needing a blood transfusion – as performed in his time – with our need to receive Christ:

We need a blood transfusion.  The vein of the blood donor needs to come in contact with the vein of the person who needs to be strengthened.  When those two veins are intimately joined, then blood will pass from one to the other.  The sick and weak person will receive the blood she needs.  In the same way, there must be communication, union, between the heart of Jesus and your heart – our heart – so that his divine blood will flow into us until little by little our blood is replaced by his.  Then this union, this total fusion, between our will and his will takes place, then, to put it briefly, our will is replaced with the will of Jesus; our feelings are replaced with the feelings of Jesus.  We live in Jesus – this is love!  We are lost in Jesus.  It is no longer I who think; it is no longer I who feel; it is no longer I who act.  It is Jesus in me!  It is Christ who lives in me!  You can all make great progress along this path.

What is the fullness or “new life” that I feel God inviting me toward?  How have my Communions transformed me into being more Christ-like?

Use these questions to examine your attitude toward the Eucharist and how you can receive Holy Communion with more fervor.
Pray, “Lamb of God…” in sorrow for the times you have neglected the Blessed Sacrament.

We can pray:

Blood of Christ, inebriate me.  Engulf me in your love!  Transform my selfishness into a self-giving love.  Transform my petty concerns into concern for others who do not know you, those who suffer without hope.  When I receive you, let the mingling of your blood with mine change me forever.  Through your church, sanctified by your blood, engulf the whole world with your love!

To Him Who Made Us to be a Kingdom

Our identity as children of God is not static but dynamic; being a child of God is not just who we are but how we live.  Ideally, our identity is expressed in all that we do.  The Eucharist is the sacrament of love not just because it is one of the highest expressions of Jesus’s love for us.  The Eucharist is also how Jesus empowers us to live out our identity as children of God in love.

In Union With Jesus

Blood of Christ, inebriate me petitions Jesus for the grace to fully enter this life-giving communion with the Trinity at every Mass.  We pray to drink so fully of the love of Jesus in the Eucharist that we will be transformed, sharing in the totality of Christ’s self-giving love – his complete and utter letting-go of self.

The Canticle of Ephesians is one of the most expressive prayers of gratitude of the New Testament.  Lavish word choices try to capture the inexpressible mystery of our redemption and the unimaginable wealth of being co-heirs with Christ.  The canticle’s sumptuous language seeks to express the immensity of the blessings we receive and celebrate at every Eucharistic Banquet of Love.  This is a prayer that can become a meditation, each line an opportunity to gratefully marvel at the blessings we receive from the Most Holy Trinity.

Pray this canticle slowly, phrase by phrase, rejoicing in the many gifts that Jesus gives us in the Eucharist: his presence, his love, his graces, his invitations, his word, his forgiveness, his union with the Father, the beginning of the fulfillment of his promise of eternal life.

Canticle of Ephesians

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the Heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love.  He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us.  With all wisdom and insight he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in Heaven and things on Earth.  In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory.

(Ephesians 1:3-12)

Concluding Prayer:
May you be blessed, Jesus Christ, priest and sacrifice, perfect lamb, and worthy mediator!  In you is salvation, resurrection, and life.  Your blood is the font of salvation: may it rain on me and wash me!  Let it fall on the world to purify and save it.
In closing, choose a joyful hymn, such as “We Will Rise Again,” composed by David Haas (based on Isaiah 40 and 41), or the traditional “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence,” translated by Gerard Moultrie.

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