Prayer Before Holy Communion
(From the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom)
“O Lord, I believe and profess that You are truly Christ, the Son of the living God, Who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the first. Accept me as a partaker of Your mystical supper, O Son of God; for I will not reveal Your mystery to Your enemies, nor will I give You a kiss as did Judas, but like the thief I confess to You: Remember me, O Lord when You shall come into Your kingdom. Remember me O Master, when You shall come into Your kingdom. Remember me O Holy One, when you shall come into Your kingdom. May the partaking of Your Holy Mysteries, O Lord, be not for my judgment or condemnation, but for the healing of soul and body. O Lord, I believe and profess that this, which I am about to receive, is truly Your most precious Body and Your life- giving Blood, which, I pray, make me worthy to receive for the remission of all my sins and for life everlasting. Amen. O God, be merciful to me, a sinner. O God, cleanse me of my sins and have mercy on me. O Lord, forgive me, for I have sinned without number.”
This beautiful expression of love for Christ in the Holy Eucharist contains a wealth of important theological truths. If more Catholics were taught to pray this prayer and others like it before receiving Holy Communion, I believe the widespread tepidity and ignorance about the truth of Christ's Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist would gradually diminish. Of course, an increase in praying prayers like this wouldn't in itself fix the problem, but it would go far in that direction.
My proposal here is that priests who read this post would consider printing out this prayer (or another like it) and having the congregation recite it just before receiving Holy Communion. I'd also suggest that laypeople reading this might begin privately praying this prayer and even, if the circumstances in their parishes would permit it, approach their pastor with the request that he include this prayer as part of the congregation's preparation for receiving the Eucharist.
As the Latin maxim “lex orandi, lex credendi” (the law of prayer [affects] the law of belief) implies: how we pray directly affects what we believe.
So many Catholics these days have lost any real belief in (much less ferver for) the Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. If people started praying prayers like this one, it could only serve to help rebuild that lost faith. Don't you think?