Here is the prayer before Communion as recited in the NO:
Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.
Which, on the face of it, isn’t bad – if you’re serious about it and really mean the words you’re praying.
Here, in comparison, is the Prayer before Communion used in the ER:
O Lord, I believe and profess that You are truly Christ, the Son of the living God, Who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the first. Accept me as a partaker of Your mystical supper, O Son of God; for I will not reveal Your mystery to your enemies, nor will I give You a kiss as did Judas, but like the thief I confess to You:
+Remember me, O Lord, when You shall come into Your kingdon.
+Remember me, O Master, when You shall come into Your kingdom.
+Remember me, O Holy One, when You shall come into Your kingdom.
May the partaking of Your Holy Mysteries, O Lord, be not for my judgment or condemnation, but for the healing of soul and body.
O Lord, I also believe and profess that this, which I am about to receive, is truly Your most precious Body and Your life-giving Blood, which, I pray, make me worthy to receive for the remission of all my sins and for life everlasting. Amen.
+O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.
+O God, cleanse me of my sins and have mercy on me.
+O Lord, forgive me, for I have sinned without number.
Following this, the priest then says to the people: “Approach with fear of God and with faith.” And the rubrics in the pew book then state – “Those of the faithful who wish to receive Communion come forward. Meanwhile, the people sing the following response:” Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord; God the Lord has revealed Himself to us.
The crowning virtue, as we have been taught (I hope) is that of humility. Praying this prayer before going to Communion, on a regular basis, with a conscious effort to mean what you say, is bound to produce some humility. There isn’t a sentence in the ER prayer that presumes anything about God. It does, however, admit much about us as humans – that we are small and unworthy that such love was given to us in the form of Jesus, the Incarnate Word. That we are always and ever in desperate need of a Good Shepherd. That we are ever conscious of our failings, and while we wish God to recognize our efforts, we still admit to Him that OUR EFFORTS, IN AND OF THEMSELVES, ARE NEVER GOING TO BE ENOUGH. We can’t do it alone.
We need God. We need Jesus, His Son. We need the Holy Spirit, Mary Ever-Virgin, and all the saints.
The following was sent to me by ByzCat, who gets the Latin Mass magazine (I don’t, yet) after we discussed this very thing after DL this morning –
Quoted from “Posturing or Imposturing?” by John Blewett in the Fall 2006 Latin Mass: “I was reminded of 2 of the most beautiful prayers I have ever prayed – found in the old Mass but nowhere in the Novus Ordo…The second is the Prayer for the Life-giving Bread, the final of the 3 prayers for Communion said in the ancient Mass… ‘Let not the partaking of Thy Body, O Lord Jesus Christ, which I, though unworthy, make bold to receive, turn to my judgment & condemnation; but by reason of Thy loving-kindness, may it be to me a safeguard of both soul & body, & an effective remedy. Who livest & reignest with God the Father in the union of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen’ “
So that sense of being unworthy but humbly making an effort was present in the Tridentine Mass, but somehow it got lost in (hiss) ‘the spirit of Vatican II’.
It’s very sad. Pray for at least one priest today – or perhaps we should all pray for at least two priests every day – one good, holy, orthodox, faithful, joyful-in-his-vows priest, and one who could use a good kick in the cassock from the Holy Spirit.
(Want Holy Spirit goosebumps? Learn to chant the Salve Regina if you don’t already know it, then go to a church with a Mary chapel and sing it to her).
Turbocharge your Faith – Pray the Divine Office!
Pax et Bonum!