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So, You Just Received Jesus…Now What?

I’m sad to admit that, over the course of my life as a cradle Catholic, I have received Our Lord in Holy Communion many times and didn’t have too much to say to Him.  It’s understandable, isn’t it?  There are lots of important things to do after receiving Communion: we have to look around the church and see how many people we know, we have to plan what we’re going to do after Mass and let’s not forget that we have to read the parish bulletin to see if we’re having coffee and donuts after Mass.  With all of these distractions, it’s easy to forget that we received the Lord and Savior of the Universe into our very bodies in a foretaste of the Heavenly banquet! 

While I’m obviously using sarcasm to make a point, it really can be difficult to keep our focus after receiving Holy Communion.  Since the Church teaches that there are infinite graces available after we receive Jesus, however, this isn’t the best time to become distracted.  But what can we do?  In reality, there is a simple acronym that help you to better focus on speaking to Our Lord after receiving Him in Holy Communion.  The acronym?

A.C.T.S.

Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving, Supplication.  Generally accepted as the four types of prayer, this acronym is hardly a secret.  What is not well known, however, is the effectiveness of  using this method immediately after receiving Holy Communion.  My wife, Eileen, has used it for years and finds it very helpful for collecting her thoughts after receiving the Eucharist.  After trying it myself, I can see why she likes it …it works!  Here’s an example of just how simple this method of prayer can be:

Adoration – Lord Jesus, I bow down before You and give you glory.  I adore and love You and acknowledge Your power over all areas of my life.  I ask my Blessed Mother, Mary, to supplement my feeble prayers and give You the proper adoration and praise of which You are so deserving.

Contrition – I am sorry that MY sins caused You to die a painful death on the cross.  Please forgive me, Jesus, for the times that I’ve failed to “do the right thing”.  Have mercy on me, a poor sinner.

Thanksgiving – Lord, I give You thanks for the many blessings in my life: my family, my job, my house, my friends.  I thank You for the gift of the Catholic Church and her clear and infallible teachings.  I thank You for the Sacraments which give me the grace that I need to lead a good and holy life, especially for the gift of Your Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist.

Supplication- Please help me, Lord.  I am a sinner who is struggling to be good.  I know that I can’t do it alone and I ask for your help.  Allow me to receive all of the graces possible from this reception of the Eucharist.  Help me to love You more and grant me an increase in faith, hope and charity.  I ask You to pour out Your blessing on my family and friends and those who have asked for my prayers.

Why not try it for yourself and see what happens?  The next time you receive Jesus in Holy Communion, close your eyes (the first step in avoiding distractions) and think of “A.C.T.S”.  Go through the letters, one by one, and speak from your heart.  I predict that you’ll find yourself getting closer to Jesus than you ever thought possible!

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