By tradition, the Catholic Church dedicates each month of the year to a certain devotion. In April, it is the Blessed Sacrament. One thing that sets Catholics apart from other Christians who believe in the Real Presence (that the bread and wine truly become the Body and Blood of Christ) is that we don't believe that the Real Presence ends when the Sacrament of Holy Communion
is complete. Frequent prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, reserved in the tabernacle, is a path to spiritual growth.
Some or all of the following prayers to the Blessed Sacrament can be incorporated into our daily prayers during this month.
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In this Act of Adoration, we thank Christ for His continued presence among us, not just through His grace but physically, in the Holy Eucharist. His Body is the Bread of Angels, offered for our strength and salvation.
This beautiful prayer, often said after receiving Communion, dates from the early 14th century. St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, was particularly fond of this prayer. The translation is by John Henry Cardinal Newman, one of the great converts to Roman Catholicism in the 19th century.
When we come before the Blessed Sacrament, it's all too easy to be distracted, to let our minds wander to our cares and responsibilities. In this prayer for the peace of Christ, composed by John Henry Cardinal Newman, we ask Christ in the Holy Eucharist to purify our hearts so that we may be filled with His love. It is, therefore, a very good prayer to begin a period of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
St. Thomas Aquinas is known today primarily for his theological works, but he also wrote extensive meditations on Scripture, as well as hymns and prayers. This beautiful prayer reminds us that, while we are unworthy to receive Communion, Christ has still given us the gift of Himself, and His Body and Blood strengthen us to live a Christian life.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
is a way to express our gratitude for His mercy and love. In this, prayer, we ask Jesus, present in the Eucharist, to purify our hearts and to make them like His own.
Our eyes still see bread, but our faith tells us that the Host that is consecrated during the Mass has become the Body of Christ. In this Act of Faith in the Eucharist, we acknowledge Christ's Presence in the Blessed Sacrament and look forward to the day when we will not only believe but see Him in Heaven.
When we come before the Blessed Sacrament in any Catholic church, it isn't as if
we're kneeling before Christ; we are actually doing so, because this is His Body. He is as present to us as He was to His disciples. In this Petition Before the Blessed Sacrament, we acknowledge Christ's presence and ask Him for the grace to serve Him as we should.
Every visit to the Blessed Sacrament should include an Act of Spiritual Communion, asking Christ to come into our hearts, even when we cannot receive His Body in Holy Communion. This Act of Love, written by Saint Francis of Assisi, is an act of spiritual communion, and it can be prayed even when we aren't able to be physically in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.
We should leave each visit to the Blessed Sacrament renewed in our commitment to live a Christian life. This Offering of Oneself to Christ in the Eucharist, written by John Henry Cardinal Newman, reminds us of the sacrifice that Christ made for us, in dying on the Cross, and asks Christ in the Blessed Sacrament to help us to dedicate our lives to Him. It is the perfect prayer to end a visit to the Blessed Sacrament.