Sunday, 15 March 2009

Anima Christi

Soul of Christ, be my sanctification;
Body of Christ, be my salvation;
Blood of Christ, fill all my veins;

Water of Christ's side, wash out my stains;

Passion of Christ, my comfort be;

O good Jesu, listen to me;

In Thy wounds I fain would hide;

Ne'er to be parted from Thy side;

Guard me, should the foe assail me;

Call me when my life shall fail me;
Bid me come to Thee above,

With Thy saints to sing Thy love,
World without end. Amen.

I've given John Henry Newman's translation because, although rhyming isn't very fashionable any more, it does make things easier to learn. It was once though that this prayer was composed by St Ignatius Loyola because he mentioned it in his Spiritual Exercises but in fact, by the time he wrote, it was a widespread and popular devotion. A mansucript in the British Museum has a version as early as 1370, it is contained in the prayer book of Cardinal Peter de Luxemboug (d.1387) and is inscribed on one of the gates of the Alcazar in Seville dating from the mid 14th century.

Traditionally, this prayer may be used after Holy Communion, which is something I often do. A tip though -if you can't remember it all, or want to read rather than recall something and there's a hymn book handy - Soul of my Saviour is another translation:

Soul of my Savior sanctify my breast,
Body of Christ, be thou my saving guest,
Blood of my Savior, bathe me in thy tide,
wash me with waters gushing from thy side.

Strength and protection may thy passion be,
O bless├Ęd Jesus, hear and answer me;
deep in thy wounds, Lord, hide and shelter me,
so shall I never, never part from thee.

Guard and defend me from the foe malign,
in death's dread moments make me only thine;
call me and bid me come to thee on high
where I may praise thee with thy saints for ay.

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