In addition to the set prayers in the liturgy at Mass, there’s a great tradition of prayers, spontaneous and written, that Catholics have been using before Mass, as well as during and after Communion, to try to enter more deeply into the mystery of Christ’s presence. Some parishes have a public rosary before Mass, and some pray the prayer to St. Michael at the end of Mass, but a lot of prayer offered before and after the liturgy is conducted privately, and at the discretion of the individual worshipper.
Do you have prayers that you’ve adopted as your own to use before and after Mass, that have developed personal meaning for you? Here’s what some of our readers and members shared:
“I spent 40 years of my adult life in a vibrant Evangelical church before returning to my natal Catholic roots of faith. It may sound crazy, but I approach Communion singing ” Nothing but the Blood of Jesus” with holiness and gratitude.”
Diane P., via Facebook
I generally use (prayers composed by St. Thomas Aquinas) before and after Communion. As I process up the aisle to receive, I also often silently recite (or silently sing) ‘Just As I Am’ as well. It’s a residual effect of my Protestant heritage I suppose, but the words still seem very fitting to me.
Greg Westwood (Read his conversion story: Unto the House of the Lord)
“At the consecration, I always say silently: ‘My Lord and My God’ to confirm my faith in the Real Presence. In the pew before Communion and as I walk up the aisle to receive, I usually ask that the spritual veil be lifted from my mind, to the extent that is the Lord’s will, so that my internal sense will be alert and alive to the reality of what is about to happen and Who I am about to receive. I have never had a standard prayer of thanksgiving after communion, but I have recently discovered the ‘Stay With Me’ prayer of St. Padre Pio.”
John S., via Facebook
“As the priest lifts up Jesus’ Precious Body and Precious Blood: ‘Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ. You have given us Your Precious Body as everlasting Food; You have given us Your Precious Blood as life-saving Drink’. Before receiving and while in the Communion line, I pray the Act of Contrition. After receiving Our Lord, I pray: ‘My Lord and My God’. Then, I read the Communion antiphons and other prayers.”
Deborah W., via Facebook
“‘Lord, create in me a new heart and cast me in your image, cell by cell, pixel by pixel, until I reflect you perfectly.’
Cheesy, I know, but that’s what I pray!”
Jennie Fraser, CHNetwork Community Forum Moderator
“During the consecration when the bells are rung, I pray, ‘Thank you Jesus for coming into the world an infant as I, You without sin, I a sinner but Your beloved. I adore and love you.’ At the second bell I pray ‘Thank you Lord for dying on the cross and then rising for me! A sinner but your beloved, I adore you and love you!'”
Karen G., via Facebook
“Before Mass: ‘Dear God please do not let me be distracted or be a distraction. Help me to be silent after receiving you. Thank you for my being born in a country where I can attend Mass without persecution, please continue to bless this nation in that way. I love you, I thank you, I am yours.’ After Communion, the Anima Christi and struggle to be silent and just be with Christ.”
Brenda M., via Facebook
What about you? What personal prayers and devotions have you developed for before and after Communion? Please share in the comments below!