Every day, we Dominican Friars of St. Dominic Priory, and guests who join us, celebrate the Mass together and encounter the one we worship, Jesus Christ, who multiplied fishes and loaves to feed the hungry, who healed countless people and who was crucified and rose from the dead.
We who gather believe that this same Jesus is radically present in the Eucharist - His Body and Blood, which he leaves for us to eat and drink so we can be more easily and quickly healed for eternal life with Him. We strive daily during Mass to invite Jesus more and more into our hearts to heal us and to become more like Him.
This article is part of a larger series centered on fostering our contemplation and reverence for Jesus as present in the Eucharist.
For Part Two in this series please go here.
For Part Three in this series please go here.
For Part Four in this series please go here.
That is where the prayer of our Dominican brother St. Thomas Aquinas comes in.
I find this prayer a great tool for inviting Jesus to transform and heal my whole self. I invite Him first into my interior life: my mind, my heart and my capacity for wisdom. I also ask him to help me change my exterior life: my daily actions, as well as long-term behavioral patterns. Finally I ask for perseverance and right trust in Him.
Any Christian can use this prayer fruitfully, and I hope many do. This prayer was composed by St. Thomas Aquinas, who had a great love for Jesus Christ, and who found, trusting the mind of Christian tradition, Jesus present in the Eucharist in a unique way. For me, the profundity of this prayer is amplified by the experience of bringing Jesus in the Eucharist into myself, and asking Him to transform me in my most intimate depths to be more like Him.
Here, translated into English, in an effort to reflect St. Thomas Aquinas’ precise Latin words, is a segment of his Prayer of Right Ordering. Each section of the prayer has a different reflection to accompany it. Each week we will begin to break open another part of Aquinas' prayer and what it means for us and our reception of the Eucharist.
At the bottom of each post is a simplified translation, and a loosely poetic rendering of the prayer.
Prayer of St. Thomas Aquinas For Right Ordering: For After Receiving Communion
"Generously Grant to me, O Lord my God, Intelligence in knowing you, Diligence in seeking you, Wisdom in finding you, Conduct pleasing to you, Perseverance in trustingly awaiting you, And Trust in finally embracing you."
For Part Two which deals with "Intelligence in knowing You, Diligence in seeking You, Wisdom in finding You" click here.
For Part Three which deals with "Conduct pleasing to You, Perseverance in trustingly awaiting You" click here.
For Part Four which deals with "And Trust in finally embracing You" click here.
Generously Grant to me, O Lord my God,
Everything God gives is given totally for the sake of the person receiving the gift, and not out of any selfish interest on God’s part.
How do I give? How often do I give out of complete regard for someone else? Wouldn’t it be better if I did that more often? Can I discern Jesus' presence in my life, and when He calls me to eagerly give myself, like Him, for others?
God’s generosity is radical; without Him giving gifts, I wouldn’t have anything.
How used am I to the idea of being self-sufficient? How self-sufficient am I really? Isn’t it the case that so many of the things I value - my independence, my health, my very life - can be radically altered or even taken away without any warning? What might God long to give me that cannot be taken away?
He longs to give Himself, and for me to accept him. How will I let that change my life today? Can I seek more earnestly things that cannot be taken away?
All these questions apply to me in a different way than they do to any other person. I am a totally unique human being, and God knows my uniqueness better than I know it myself.
That goes for strengths and weaknesses.
If God knows me better than I know myself, wouldn’t I benefit from knowing myself as God knows me? Wouldn’t that help me know myself better? More often, especially when I receive the Eucharist, can I ask Jesus to help me see myself better, and to help me become more myself by becoming more like Him?
The ‘O’ means there’s something I can’t express about Him, and the ‘Lord’ means I at least want to make Jesus my Lord. In the Eucharist, this indescribable Lord, Jesus, remains a great Lord to be contemplated and obeyed AND a piece of bread ceases to be bread and becomes Him so that I can take Him into myself.
He is the greatest Lord, but in the Eucharist, Jesus shows me real Lordship. How can I follow His Lordly example and radically humble and sacrifice myself for the sake of other people?
Everyone gives their life to a god, even atheists who say they don’t believe in one. The kind of ‘god’ to which everyone gives their life is what one famous theologian referred to as the, ‘ultimate concern.’
What is the most important person or thing in my life? What do I know is the one person or thing I would want to keep above all else? Everyone has one.
For me, the more I make Jesus Christ my ultimate concern, the happier I am. I find that as I let Him more and more into my life, I become more and more able to love all the persons and things in my life with a greater depth.
In receiving the Eucharist, I pray to continue making Jesus Christ more and more the Lord of my life; to make him truly My God.
What parts of my life do I not yet let Him rule?
Written by Br. James Pierce Cavanaugh, O.P.
Grant me O Lord,
A mind to know You
A heart to seek You
Wisdom to find You
Conduct pleasing to You
Perseverence in searching for You,
And a hope of finally embracing You.
Gen’rously Grant oh lord Jesu’:
Intelligence in knowing you,
And Diligence in seeking you,
And Wisdom, too, in finding you.
Grant I may do what pleases you,
Persever’ in those doings too,
Mind, heart and wisdom born anew.
Grant steadfast waiting, trusting you.
Grant trust itself of truest true:
A trust that trusts completely you,
And ‘waits your full embrace, Jesu’.
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Dominican Friars of St. Louis, MO
The Dominican Friars living at St. Dominic Priory in St. Louis, MO are members of both the Central U.S. Province and the Southern U.S. Province. Our student friars go through their formation together at the St. Louis Studium, otherwise known as the House of Studies.