Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament – Saint Teresa of Avila Ward

Confraternity of the Blessed SacramentThe Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament is the oldest devotional society in the Anglican Communion. It was founded in England as part of the Oxford Movement on the first Thursday in Advent in the year of our Lord 1862. The American Branch of the Confraternity was instituted September 11, 1867.

At the heart of the Christian faith lies the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. It is at the altar that the outward and visible sign of God’s inward and spiritual grace is conveyed by means of Christ’s Body and Blood. Here we share in the divine life through the gift of God’s Son, Jesus Christ.  Associates of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament strive to promote reverence for Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist through the witness of their lives and words, through prayer, and teaching.

Meditation on the Eucharistic from St. Catherine of Siena

I have told you we should not act, and I do not wish you to act, like so many foolhardy worldly people who break the commandments of the Holy Church. “I am not worthy,” they say. And so they spend long days in mortal sin, refusing the food of their souls. Oh, what absurd humility! Who does not see that you are not worthy? You say you are waiting for the time when you will be worthy. When will that be? Do not wait, because you will not be any more worthy on the last day than you were on the first. Even if all our actions are good, we shall never be worthy. But God is the one who is worthy and who, with His own great worth, makes us worthy. And His worth cannot decrease. But as for us, what should we do? We should prepare ourselves to keep the sweet commandment because, if we do not do so and neglect Communion, then, thinking that we shall avoid sin, we shall fall into it.

Therefore, to conclude, I do not want to see such folly in you but rather that you dispose yourself, as a faithful Christian, to receive Holy Communion in the manner I have just described.

From a letter by St. Catherine of Siena
Letter 246: ed. Perrin 1965, 178-179

Pre-Communion Prayers

Be present, be present, O Jesus, our great High Priest, as you were present with your disciples, and be known to us in the breaking of bread; who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

Book of Common Prayer

I am not worthy, Master and Lord, that thou shouldest come beneath the roof of my soul: yet, since thou in thy love toward all dost wish to dwell in me, in boldness I come. Thus commandest, Open the gates-which thou alone hast forged; and thou wilt come in with love as is thy nature; thou wilt come in and enlighten my darkened reasoning. I believe that thou wilt do this; for thou didst not send away the harlot who came to thee with tears not cast out the repenting publican; nor reject the thief who acknowledged thy kingdom; nor forsake the repentant persecutor, a yet greater act; but all those who came to thee in repentance, didst thou count in the band of thy friends, who alone abidest blessed forever, now and unto the endless ages. Amen

St. John Chrysostom

O Mother of pity and mercy, most blessed Virgin Mary, I, a miserable and unworthy sinner, flee unto thee, with all my heart and with all my affection; and I beseech thee of thy mercy, that like as thou didst stand by thy well beloved Son when he hung upon the Cross, so thou wouldst graciously vouchsafe to stand by me, a miserable sinner, and all who here, and in all the holy Church, this day do receive the Body and Blood of thy Son; that aided by thy gracious prayers, we may worthily approach this mighty Sacrament. Amen

Saint Augustine’s Prayer Book

Post Communion Prayers

O Lord Jesus Christ, who in a wonderful Sacrament hast left unto us a memorial of thy passion: Grant us, we beseech thee, so to venerate the sacred mysteries of thy Body and Blood, that we may ever perceive within ourselves the fruit of thy redemption; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Book of Common Prayer

Heaven is intertwined with earth. Alleluia!
We have taken the divine life into ourselves. Alleluia!
And so now each may say, I rise up clothed in the strength of Christ. I shall not be imprisoned, I shall not be harmed; I shall not be down trodden, I shall not be left alone; I shall not be tainted, I shall not be overwhelmed.
I go clothed in Christ’s white garments.
I go freed to weave Christ’s patterns;
I go loved to serve Christ’s weak ones;
I go armed to rout Christ’s foes. Amen

Celtic Prayer

O Mary, Virgin and Mother most Holy, who wast worthy to bear in thy womb the Creator of all things, and to feed at thy breast him whose true, real and most holy Body and Blood I have now received: Vouchsafe, I beseech thee, to intercede for me, that I may henceforth render him more faithful service and persevere to the end in loving companionship with him, so that, at last, I may, with thee, praise and adore him throughout all ages, world without end. Amen

Saint Augustine’s Prayer Book