I didn't know who wrote this prayer until tonight, but I was curious, so I checked it out. St. Richard of Chichester wrote it. I was taught this prayer in high school by Fr. Lopez. He had us memorize the prayer and he suggested that we pray it each and every time we kneel down after receiving the Eucharist. So, from high school on, that is what I have done. I also had all of my students memorize it. And now, I even pray the prayer aloud for Gabriel to hear when we kneel down after communion...
Thanks be to thee, my Lord Jesus Christ, for all the blessings you have given to me; for all the pains and insults you have borne for me. Oh, Most Merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother, may I know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly and follow thee more nearly. Amen.
If only I could've started to write a book years ago on this prayer and the sentiments it brings after each reception of the Holy Eucharist. Each week the prayer has meant so many different things. Some weeks, I could just cry from sheer joy when I pray the first part, thanking Christ for the blessings in my life. There are other weeks where I can not even pray the second part without tears streaming down my face... because there are things that Christ has surely given that are very difficult and very sanctifying. And then there are weeks where I love the end, when we ask him to allow us to love him more, to follow him closer, and we call him different names... Redeemer, Friend, Brother... all three so different, but so true... especially in different moments of our faith walk.
So, I share this with you, so you can learn it. It is a powerful prayer for me and I am so grateful that this humble man from Chichester wrote it and Fr. Lopez had us learn it.
As I prayed it this past week I was overwhelmed with joy, thinking about bringing a child into the world soon. A new soul, a new little face, a new personality to just make everything in my life more full! I was also overwhelmed with exhaustion while I thanked Christ for all the pains he had granted me... pregnancy is no walk in the park. It has been a tough go this time... the vertigo, the heartburn, the back pain, the restless legs, the lack of sleep, the discomfort, the moods. All completely sanctifying. But, so hard.
What I realized recently is that we first thank Him in the prayer for the blessings and then for the pain... and in the end when we beg to love Him more, we find that it is BOTH, the blessings and the pain that allow us to love Him more. Really, for me, the perfect prayer.