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THE IMITATION OF CHRIST

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BOOK FOUR
AN INVITATION TO HOLY COMMUNION

LIBER QUARTUS
De devota exhortatione ad sacram Corporis Christi communionem.

Chapter 17
THE BURNING LOVE AND STRONG DESIRE
TO RECEIVE CHRIST

Cap. 17.
De ardenti amore, et desiderio vehementi suscipiendi Christum.

THE DISCIPLE - WITH greatest devotion and ardent love, with all affection and fervor of heart I wish to receive You, O Lord, as many saints and devout persons, most pleasing to You in their holiness of life and most fervent in devotion, desired You in Holy Communion. O my God, everlasting love, my final good, my happiness unending, I long to receive You with as strong a desire and as worthy a reverence as any of the saints ever had or could have felt,

 

1. Cum summa devotione et ardenti amore cum toto cordis affectu et fervore desidero te, Domine; quemadmodum multi Sancti et devotæ personæ in communicando et desideraverunt, qui tibi maxime in sanctitate vitæ placuerunt, et in ardentissima devotione fuerunt. O Deus meus, amor æternus, totum bonum meum, felicitas interminabilis: cupio te suscipere cum vehementissimo desiderio et dignissima reverentia, quam aliquis Sanctorum unquam habuit et sentire potuit.
and though I am not worthy to have all these sentiments of devotion, still I offer You the full affection of my heart as if I alone had all those most pleasing and ardent desires. Yet, whatever a God-fearing mind can conceive and desire, I offer in its entirety to You with the greatest reverence and inward affection. I wish to keep nothing for self but to offer to You, willingly and most freely, myself and all that is mine. O Lord God, my Creator and my Redeemer, I long to receive You this day with such reverence, praise, and honor, with such gratitude, worthiness and love, with such faith, hope, and purity as that with which Your most holy Mother, the glorious Virgin Mary, longed for and received You when she humbly and devoutly answered the angel who announced to her the mystery of the Incarnation: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word." 2. Et licet indignus sum omnia illa sentimenta devotionis habere, tamen offero tibi totum cordis mei affectum, ac si omnia illa gratissime inflammata desideria solus haberem. Sed et quæcumque potest pia mens concipere et desiderare, hæc omnia tibi cum summa veneratione et intimo servore præbeo et offero. Nihil opto reservare mihi, sed me et omnia mea tibi sponte et libentissime immolare. Domine Deus meus, creator meus et redemtor meus, cum tali gratitudine, dignitate et amore, cum tali spe, fide, et puritate affecto te hodie suscipere, sicut te suscepti et desideravit sanctissima Mater tua, gloriosa Virgo Maria, quando Angelo evangelizanti sibi incarnationis tuæ mysterium humiliter et devote respondit: Ecce ancilla Domini, fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum.
Likewise as Your blessed precursor, the most excellent of saints, John the Baptist, gladdened by Your presence, exulted in the Holy Ghost while yet enclosed in the womb of his mother, and afterward seeing Jesus walking among men, humbled himself and with devout love declared: "The friend of the bridegroom, who standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth with joy because of the bridegroom's voice," even so I long to be inflamed with great and holy desires and to give myself to You with all my heart. Therefore I offer and present to You the gladness of all devout hearts, their ardent affection, their mental raptures, their supernatural illuminations and heavenly visions together with all the virtues and praises which have been or shall be celebrated by all creatures in heaven and on earth, for myself and all commended to my prayers, that You may be worthily praised and glorified forever. 3. Et sicut beatus Præcursor tuus excellentissimus Sanctorum, Johannes Baptista, in præsentia tua lætabundus exultavit in gaudio Spiritus Sancti, dum adhuc maternis clauderetur visceribus. Et postmodum cernens inter homines Jesum ambulantem, valde se humilians, devoto cum affectu dicebat: Amicus autem sponsi, qui stat et audit cum gaudio, gaudet propter vocem sponsi: sic et ego magnis et sacris desideriis opto inflammari, et tibi ex toto corde me ipsum præsentare. Unde et omnium devotorum cordium jubilationes, ardentes affectus, mentales excessus, ac supernales illuminationes et cælica visiones tibi offero et exhibeo cum omnibus virtutibus et laudibus, ab omni creatura in cælo et in terra celebratis et celebrandis, pro me et omnibus mihi in oratione commendatis, quatenus ab omnibus digne lauderis, et in perpetuum glorificeris.
Accept, O Lord my God, my promises and desires of giving You infinite praise and boundless benediction, which in the vastness of Your ineffable greatness are justly due You. This I render and desire to render every day and every moment of time, and in my loving prayers I invite and entreat all celestial spirits and all the faithful to join me in giving You praise and thanks. 4. Accipe vota mea, Domine Deus meus, et desideria infinitæ laudationis et immensæ benedictionis, quætibi secundum multitudinem ineffabilis magnitudinis tuæ jure debentur. Hæc tibi reddo et reddere desidero per singulos dies et momenta temporum, atque ad reddendum mecum tibi gratias et laudes, omnes cælestes spiritus et cunctos fideles tuos precibus et affectibus invito et exoro.
Let all people, races, and tongues praise You and with the greatest joy and most ardent devotion magnify Your sweet and holy name. And let all who reverently and devoutly celebrate this most great Sacrament and receive it in the fullness of faith, find kindness and mercy in You and humbly pray for me, a sinner. And when they have received the longed-for devotion and blissful union, and, well consoled and wonderfully refreshed, have retired from Your holy, Your celestial table, may they deign to remember my poor soul. 5. Laudent te universi populi, tribus, et linguæ, et sanctum et mellifluum nomen tuum cum summa devotione et ardenti jubilatione magnificent. Et quicumque reverenter ac devote altissimum Sacramentum tuum celebrant et plena fide recipiunt, gratiam et misericordiam apud te invenire mereantur, et pro me peccatore suppliciter exorent. Cumque optata devotione ac fruibili unione potiti fuerint, et bene consolati, ac mirifice refecti de sacra mensa cælesti abscesserint mei pauperis recordari dignentur.
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