Let’s face it, what Christian doesn’t want to get closer to Jesus? Those of us who are Catholic are especially blessed because we get to encounter the Lord in most intimate way possible – by receiving Him in Holy Communion. Because we are human, however, we often take this miraculous encounter for granted. How many times do we receive Our Lord into our very body, while are minds are a thousand miles away? Oh sure, we may mutter a few quick prayers after Communion, but are we really treating Jesus with the respect He deserves? Do we pay Him the homage and adoration fiiting for the King of King and Lord of Lords? Do we ask to receive all of the graces possible from this powerful sacrament? If you’re like me, you could probably do a better job - at least some of the time.
The good news is that there is an answer to this dilemma. There is a person that can help you to get closer to Jesus at every moment, especially after receiving Him in Holy Communion. The “even better” news is that this person is ready to help you TODAY and all you have to do is ask. As you’ve probably determined, that person is Our Blessed Mother Mary and she is standing by, waiting to take you by the hand and lead you closer to Jesus!
Not sure what to say? It can be as simple as, “Mary, please lead me closer to Jesus” or “Mother, magnify and perfect my prayers so that they are pleasing to your Son”. If you’d prefer something more formal, you can try this prayer composed by St. Bernard of Clairvaux:
Powerful, sovereign Queen, come to our aid. Speak for us to Our Lord Jesus Christ. Who can do it better than you who conversed with Him so intimately here on earth, and now so fully possesses Him in heaven? Speak to your Son for us. He cannot refuse you anything. Ask for us a great love of God, perseverance in His holy grace, and the happiness of dying in His friendship that we may see you and thank you with Him eternally. Amen.
Will asking for Mary’s intercession suddenly make all of your distractions go away? Not necessarily, but they will decrease. And on those days when you still find yourself empty and at a loss for words, Mary can fill in the gaps and perfect your feeble prayers, making them worthy for the Savior of the world. Let’s look at a prayer from an old prayer book (Mary My Hope, Catholic Book Publishing Company) that can be recited before receiving Our Lord in Holy Communion. It ackowleges the fact that we are imperfect and often don’t receive Jesus with the respect He deserves. Instead of simply making us feel guilty, this prayer asks Mary for her assistance and acknowledge the fact that we can only get so far on our own. We need help in order to get as close to Jesus as possible.
Mary, my Mother, I am now about to become the sanctuary of Jesus. But what a poor dwelling that I offer to the King of heaven! Receive Him in me and be to Him a dwelling place. He finds His pleasure and delight wherever you are; even the stable of Bethlehem was delightful to Him because of your presence. Then He will also be pleased to take up His abode in my soul, if He finds His dear Mother there.
Come, dearest Mother, give me your pure, loving heart in place of mine, so cold and guilty. Adorn me with your virtues and merits, and Jesus will find in my soul the perfect preparation which your soul offered Him at the moment of His incarnation, and which He found there also after His ascension, when you received Him in Holy Communion. What happiness for me to be able to give you Jesus, the same gift the Heavenly Father gave you on the day of the incarnation.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you Jesus, your Son, the King of angels and of men. Through Jesus and in Jesus I wish to honor, love and thank you worthily for the many graces you have shown me during life. Mary, lend me your heart, help me to love my God. Help me to prepare my poor heart to receive Jesus. Amen.
Ad Jesum per Mariam! (To Jesus through Mary)