Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Andrewes' prayer of preparation for the Eucharist

Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626) was an English priest (then bishop) and scholar, prominent in the Church of England during the reigns of Elizabeth I and King James I. A learned and impassioned preacher, and one of the most highly esteemed churchmen of his day, Andrewes oversaw the translation of the King James Bible.  He also served successively as Bishop of Chichester, then Ely and Winchester - he was famous for his eloquence and intelligence but in his private life was reputed to be humble and charitable. Andrewes is credited with writing passages of extraordinary beauty - T S Elliot claimed him as a major influence and borrowed from one of his sermons for his work The Journey of the Magi.

O Lord, I am not worthy,
I am not fit,
that thou shouldest come under the roof of my soul;
for it is all desolate and ruined;
nor hast thou in me fitting place to lay thy head.

But, as thou didst vouchsafe to lie
in the cavern and manger of brute cattle,
as thou didst not disdain to be entertained
in the house of Simon the leper;
as thou didst not disdain that harlot,
like me, who was a sinner,
coming to thee: and touching thee;
nor the thief upon the cross confessing thee:
So me too the ruined, wretched, and excessive sinner,
deign to receive the touch and partaking
of the immaculate, supernatural,
life giving, and saving mysteries
of thy all-holy Body and thy precious Blood.

Listen, O Lord, our God, from thy holy habitation,
and from the glorious throne of thy kingdom,
and come to sanctify us.
Thou who sittest on high with the Father,
and art present with us here invisibly;
come thou to sanctify the gifts which lie before thee,
and those in whose behalf, and by whom,
and the things for which, they are brought near thee.
And grant to us communion, unto faith, without shame,
love without dissimulation,
fulfilment of thy commandments,
alacrity for every spiritual fruit;
hindrance of all adversity,
healing of soul and body;
that we too, with all saints,
who have been well-pleasing to thee from the beginning,
may become partakers of thy incorrupt and everlasting goods,
which thou hast prepared, O Lord, for them that love thee;
in whom thou art glorified for ever and ever.
Lamb of God, that takest away the sin of the world,
take away the sin of me, the utter sinner. Amen.


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