St. Anselm/John of Fecamp, Oratio XXVII (for priests)

Oratio XXVII

Ad Christum

Cum sacerdos corpus Christi et sanguinem in manibus tenet, tenensque dulciter recordetur quos dolores in cruce pro nobis passus est.

Dulcissime, et super omnia desideranda desiderande et suavissime Jesu Christe, adesto supplicationi meae, et intende voci orationis meae (Psalm 5:3), et per tuam magnam misericordiam emunda ab omni inquinamento peccati animam meam, ut dignus possim accedere ad servitium tui altaris, digneque tractare mysterium corporis et sanguinis tui.  Fateor, dulcissime Domine, coram omnipotentia tua me nimis esse culpabilem, et multa mala fere per singulas horas facientem, et tamen de ineffabili bonitate tua non desperantem.  Bonus es tu, Domine, et in bonitate tua doce me justificationes tuas (Psalm 119:68), ut eas intelligendo, easque, sicut decet, jugiter operando, mundo corde mundaque anima possim recipere mysteria tua.

O Sweetest, [and To Be Desired above all things to be desired], and Gentlest Jesus Christ, attend to my supplication and hear the voice of my prayer (Psalm 5:3), and through Your great mercy wash out my soul from every defilement of sin, that I may be worthy to approach to the service of Your altar and worthily conduct the mystery of Your Body and Blood.  I confess, Sweetest Lord, before Your omnipotence, that I am exceedingly culpable, and doing many sins nearly every hour, and yet not despairing of Your ineffable goodness.  You are good, Lord, and in Your goodness teach me Your ways (Psalm 119:68) that by knowing them and, as it fitting, constantly doing them, with clean heart and clean soul I may be able to receive Your mysteries.

Ecce, anima mea, praepara hospitium cordis tui ad suscipiendum corpus et sanguinem Creatoris tui mundis cogitationibus mundisque operibus, expurga ab omnibus interioribus tuis quidquid potest offendere hospitem tam immensae majestatis; non enim potest in illa anima vel in illo corde manere, quam possidet aliqua contaminatio malitiae, et nisi ibi summa pax summaque charitas fuerit, indignum judicans hospitium conversatione suae mansionis, nec diu ferens tantam inquietudinem perturbationis, ab illo hospitio cito discedit.  Vae autem menti illi quam Christus propter suas iniquitates deserit, deserensque et damnans tentationibus et dolis inimici seduci permittit!

Behold, my soul, prepare a hospice of your heart for receiving the Body and Blood of your Creator with clean thoughts and clean works; purge out from all your inward parts whatever can offend a Guest of such immense majesty, for He cannot remain in that soul or in that heart which some contamination of malice seizes, and unless there the highest peace and the highest charity be, Judging the hospice unworthy in comparison with His own mansion and no longer bearing such disquiet of disturbance, He departs from that hospice forthwith.  Woe indeed to that mind which Christ deserts on account of its iniquities, and deserting and condemning permits it to be seduced by the trials and deceits of the Enemy!

Diligenter ergo, o anima mae, inspice, diligenter omnes sensus corporis tui ad teipsam intus recollige, et quidquid eis sordidum vel immundum inveneris, foras projice, expulsaque omni malitia vel iniquitate, diligenter post illas aditum pectoris tui reclude, ne ad te valeant quandoque redire, vel amplius interiora tua inquinare.  Peractis vero omnibus quae ad ipsius venerabilis mysterii consecrationem pertinent, expulsisque omnibus quae ipsius mentis arcanum maculare solent, o tu, misera anima mea, cum magna diligentia intuere omnes negligentias tuas, omnia mala et peccata quae facere solebas.  Et cum ipsius Redemptoris tui corpus et sanguinem in manibus tenes, illius ineffabilem misericordiam, quam dulcius potes, exora, ut per suam magnam pietatem omnia peccata tua dimittat, et ut haec vel alia amplius admittere non valeas.  Hoc ante omnia, et sicut interitum tuum moneo caveas, ne in huiusmodi recordationibus aliquos diaboli laqueos incurras, quos multi incauti saepius incurrunt; qui dum mala sua quasi pro eis plorantes ante mentis oculos reducunt, per easdem recordationes in ipsorum malorum delectationes insipienter reincidunt.

Diligently therefore, o my soul, inspect, diligently recollect all the senses of your body into yourself inwardly, and whatever in them you find sordid or unclean, hurl out and with every malice and iniquity having been expelled, diligently after them close the door of your heart, lest they be hale to return once more to you, or to more powerfully contaminate your inward parts.  Indeed all things having been accomplished which pertain to the consecration of this venerable mystery, and all things having been expelled which are wont to stain the hidden place of this mind, o you, my wretched soul, with great diligence look upon all your negligences, all the evils and sins which you are wont to do.  And when you hold in your hands the Body and Blood of your Redeemer Himself, His ineffable mercy, as sweetly as you can, extol, that through His great piety He may dismiss all your sins and that you may not be hale to admit these or others even greater.  This before all, even as I warn your own ruin, beware lest in such recollections you rush into some snares of the Devil, into which many incautious have often rushed;  who , while they recall before the eyes of the mind their evils as if weeping over them, through the same recollections into the delights of their evils foolishly cut open again [?].

Recordare, quam dulcius potes, ipsius corporis Christi quod tenes ineffabilem pietatem, et plusquam aestimari possit admirandam dulcedinem, quod pro redemptione tua multas injurias sustinuit, et ad ultimum crucifixum sit.  Sed et ipsam passionem quam in cruce pertulit per singulos dolores cogita et recogita, scilicet cum quanto dolore in ipsius crucis patibulo et pedes eius et manus infixae sunt, latus eius per militis lanceam transforatum, ab ipsis etiam pro quibus patiebatur, ibi ante crucem quasi malefactor sit illusus, irrisus, et tam horrida opprobria sustinens, quasi Agnus mansuetissimus inaestimabilem patientiam ostendit.  Qui cum facile posset, non se de suis interfectoribus vindicavit, sed Patrem, ut hoc peccatum illis dimitteret, oravit.  Cum vero, huiusmodi recordationibus quasi satiata requiescere coeperis, nec tamen requiescens haec dulciter et cum magno affectu ruminare cessaveris, ad ipsum dulcissimum dulcissimi Domini corpus quod in manibus tenes loquere, et quasi cum praesenti loquens, tuas illi necessitates expone.  De illo haec fideliter crede quod de Virgine natum est, quod crucifixum est, quod in sepulcro positum est, quod tertia die a mortuis resurrexit, quod ad coelos ascendit, et quod sedet ad dexteram Patris.

Recall, as sweetly as you can, the ineffable piety of the very Body of Christ which you are holding, and the sweetness more to be admired than can be estimated, which for your redemption undertook many injuries, and to the last was crucified.  But also the very passion which He undertook on the Cross think and rethink each of the sorrows, namely with how much sorrow on the beam [patibulum] of that Cross both His Hands and His Feet were fastened, His Side [transforated] through the lance of the soldier, even by them for whom He suffered, there before the cross as if a malefactor he was mocked, ridiculed, and sustaining such horrid taunts, as if the Most Gentle Lamb showed inestimable patience.  Who, although it were easy, did not vindicate Himself against his killers, but to the Father, that He might forgive them this Sin, did pray.  When indeed you begin to rest in such recollections as if satiated, yet resting cease not to ruminate on these things sweetly and with great affection, speak to that Sweetest Body of the Sweetest Lord which you are holding in your hands, and speaking as if with Him present, expose your needs to Him.  About this faithfully believe these things, that He was born of the Virgin, that He was crucified, that He was placed in the tomb, that on the third day He rose again from the dead, that He ascended into the heavens, and that He sits at the right hand of the Father.

Nec dubites in illa hora sacrificii corporis et sanguinis tui Redemptoris angelos adesse suo Creatori, suique Creatoris carni et sanguini cum magna reverentia ineffabile obsequium deferre.  Quid vero de omnibus sanctis aestimari debet?  Quid cogitari potest, cum ipsius redemptionis suae pretium in terra celebrari conspiciant, de cuius aeterna visione laetantes, iam magnum gaudium possident in coelo?  Tu vero, anima mea, haec omnia fideliter credens, carnemque tui Creatoris dulciter amplectens, in ipsis amplexibus eius pietatis significa tuam necessitatem, et quam dulcius potes eius exora pietatem, ut per suam ineffabilem misericordiam omnem tuam emundet foeditatem.  Ingere totam te ipsam in Christum quem tenes, et ipsum prius adorans, tuas iterum et iterum repraesentans ingere necessitates.

Nor may you doubt that in that hour of the sacrifice of the Body and Blood of your Redeemer the angels attended to their Creator, and that to their Creator’s flesh and blood with great reverence they did offer ineffable homage.  How then ought it be judged concerning all the saints?  What can be thought, when they see that the price of their redemption is celebrated on earth, rejoicing over Whose eternal vision, now they they posses great joy in heaven?  You truly, my soul, faithfully believing all these things, and sweetly embracing the flesh of your Creator, in those embraces of His piety signify your need, and as sweetly as you can extol His piety, that through His ineffable mercy he may wash away all your foulness.  Throw your very self onto Christ Whom you are holding, and first adoring Him, presenting yourself again and again heap on your needs.

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