The Anima Christi is one of my favorite Eucharistic prayers. I find it essentially sums up everything you could possibly ask Jesus while you have Him in your heart after receiving Him in Holy Communion, and it is excellent inspiration for mental prayer. Since today is the External Solemnity of the Feast of Corpus Christi, I thought I would share some of my thoughts on this lovely prayer to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood from the side of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.Anima Christi
I love how these first few lines restate the Catholic belief that Christ is wholly present “Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity” in the Blessed Sacrament. It is a beautiful mental picture: Christ’s soul cleansing our own; His body within us and His blood filling our own veins so we are no longer our own, but part of His body; and the water from His side washing away all stains of venial sin.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me .
O good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds hide me.
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee.Anima Christi
Now the prayer moves from asking for unity and cleansing to unity and protection. To paraphrase 1 Peter, it is by Jesus’ stripes that we are healed. By Christ’s passion we are strengthened. Then, when we are just too weak to fight without relief, we ask Jesus to let us take shelter in His wounds, knowing that it is by acknowledging our weakness that we are made strong; by uniting ourselves to Him He will never allow us to be torn away if we humbly hide in Him. “Come to Me, and I will give you rest” Christ says. So saying, He invites us into His pierced side to be close to His sacred heart!
From the malignant enemy, defend me.
In the hour of my death call me.
And bid me to come to Thee,
That with Thy Saints I may praise Thee
For ever and ever. Amen.Anima Christi
Finally we come to the end of the prayer. We ask Christ, as we draw our precious few moments of Communion to a close, to keep us, even as we leave His Sacramental Presence. Satan won’t be long in trying to wrest our souls from Jesus’ loving hands! Our Enemy will be especially vigilant a the hour of our death, since it is his last chance to drag us away from God, so we specifically beg for aid at that moment above all others. Then, when that final great battle is over we will join all the others who have gone before us to Heaven to praise Christ who sanctified, saved, and defended us, while we struggled here on earth, and finally, brought us to perfect union with Him, not merely for a moment as in our reception of Holy Communion, but for all eternity. Imagine, the Holy Eucharist is really a foretaste of Heaven!
I hope you all have a good and fruitful feast day. Today is about Jesus; give Him some time, talk to Him, love Him. That’s what we should really be doing when we pray. The Anima Christi is a lovely prayer, and there are many lovely prayers out there, but Jesus would also love to hear you speak from your heart. Start with the lovely prayers, then let Christ guide your heart to conversation with Him in your own words. You will never regret the extra effort! Be sure to give Christ a moment of your time today on His special feast. God will surely reward you!
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!