From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.
IN Passiontide, the Christian went to holy Communion impressed with these words of the Apostle: ‘As often as ye shall eat this Bread, and drink the Chalice, ye shall show the death of the Lord.’ He united himself with the divine Victim immolated for the sins of the world, and he died with his Saviour. During Paschal Time, the heavenly Food produces its effects in another manner; it fortifies the life of the soul, and gives to the body the germ of immortality. It is true that in each season of the liturgical year this twofold effect is produced in those who worthily receive Communion, namely, immolation and resurrection; but as, during the days consecrated to the Passion, the application of the mystery of immolation and sacrifice is more direct and more in accordance with the sentiments of the communicant, so also, during Paschal Time, the divine contact of the Body of our risen Jesus makes us feel, in a way that Easter alone can do, that to the holy Eucharist we owe the future resurrection of our bodies.
Our Saviour himself teaches us this, where he says: ‘Your fathers did eat manna in the desert, and are dead. This is the Bread which cometh down from heaven, that if any man eat of it, he may not die. . . . He that eateth my Flesh, and drinketh my Blood, hath everlasting life, and I will raise him up in the last day.’
We shall all resume these bodies of ours on the Last Day, either for glory or punishment eternal; but he that worthily unites himself by holy Communion with the glorious and risen Body of the Man-God contracts an alliance and intimacy with him which forbid this divine Guest to leave in corruption these members made his own by the sublime Mystery.
We must, therefore, approach the holy Table during Eastertide with an ardent ambition for our resurrection, knowing as we do that we then receive into our bodies an element which is to preserve them even when turned into dust; and which, moreover, confers on them a right to the qualities of glorified bodies, whose beauty and happiness will be like those of our Jesus, after he had risen from the grave.
Now, if our Redeemer does all this for our bodies by means of holy Communion—giving them, by it, the pledge of immortality—what must he not do for our souls, in order to strengthen and increase within them that ‘new life,’ that Resurrection-life, which is the fruit of Easter, the object of all our past efforts, the reward of all the victories we have gained over ourselves during the campaign of Lent? Nay, unless this new life be fostered by frequent Communion, it is in danger of growing weak, perhaps even of becoming extinct within us. The Apostle tells us that ‘Christ, having risen from the dead, dieth now no more;’ we, then, must die no more, for we are risen with him. To this end, we must hunger after the Bread of Heaven, of which our Jesus says: ‘If any man eat of this Bread, he shall live for ever.’
We offer to our readers the following Preparation for holy Communion during Easter. There are souls that feel the want of some such assistance as this; and, for the same reason, We will add a form of Thanksgiving for after Communion.
Act of Faith
O Saviour of mankind! the magnificence of thy works shines so brightly that we are compelled to give glory to thy name and proclaim thee to be the Son of God. We believed in thee, when thou didst show thyself a weak Babe in the Crib of Bethlehem; there was a mysterious power that attracted us, and, with the Angels, we adored thee wrapped in thy humble swathing-bands. When we saw thee hanging on the Cross, outraged and blasphemed by a whole people, we still acknowledged thee to be our King, and said to thee, with the Good Thief; ‘Remember us, O Lord, when thou shalt come into thy Kingdom!’ But now that thou hast triumphed over death, and art risen glorious from the tomb; now that the whole earth resounds with thy praise, and the tidings of thy Resurrection fill all nations with a gladness as fresh as though thy triumph were but of this very year: who can refuse to confess thy Divinity, adore thy Mysteries, and cry out with thy disciple: ‘My Lord and my God!’ Though my eyes see thee not, though my hands cannot touch thy sacred wounds, yet do I most firmly believe thee to be my Lord and my God. Thou hast said: ‘Happy they that have not seen, and have believed:’ of these happy believers I would be one, O Jesus! I confess that thou hast verily risen, the Son of God and the Son of Man. I believe, also, that thou art the living Bread come down from heaven to give life to the world, and that I am about to receive thee into myself. Increase this my faith, O my Lord and my God! that so I may render thee the worship thou claimest from me, thy poor but happy creature.
Act of Humility
O divine Conqueror of death! who could see thee in the splendour of thy majesty, and not tremble? Before thy Passion, thou grantedst a mere glimpse of thy glory to the three disciples on Thabor, and they fell down as though they were dead: and now, when the brightness of thy Resurrection dazzles even the eyes of the Angels, thou wishest to do far more than show thyself to me. Thou vouchsafest to come down to my nothingness, to unite me, a weak unworthy creature, with thyself, who art no longer in the Crib or on the Cross, and art soon to ascend to the right hand of thy eternal Father! Thou, the Author of light, and thyself the infinite Light, art about to shine amidst such darkness as mine! If I reflect upon my nothingness, this thy condescension fills me with delighted wonder; but when I remember that I have been so great a sinner, this union with thee overpowers me. How can thy sovereign holiness and my sinfulness be brought thus together? Thine Evangelist tells me, that ‘the Light shineth in darkness, and the darkness doth not comprehend it,’ for the darkness of pride ever thinks itself to be the light, and sees not the ‘true Light’: let it not be thus with me, my Jesus! I humble myself before thee; I acknowledge my misery—it is immense; deign then, O divine Light! to pour out on me the riches of thine infinite mercy.
Act of Contrition
O Saviour of the world! O Conqueror of death! thou art coming to me, and I am but a sinner. Thou wiliest to treat me as thou didst thy disciples on the day of thy Resurrection. They had basely abandoned thee in thy Passion, and thou didst return to them: thou wast all affection to them; thou badest them not fear; not a word of reproach fell from thy lips. Thou wouldst have them learn from this thy loving forgiveness how guilty they had been in leaving such a Master. O thou best of masters! I, too, must learn the same lesson. But how much more grievous my sins have been than were theirs! They knew so little of thee when they sinned; whereas I sinned with all the fulness of light upon me, knowing my Jesus so well. Thy Apostles were not initiated into all thy Mysteries, when they lost their courage; they had not as yet received the Holy Ghost, who has been so unreservedly given to me. I will, then, imitate them in the sorrow they felt when they found that he whom they had offended was so deserving of their love. Yes, I detest my sins whereby I have so cruelly wounded thy Sacred Heart; I acknowledge that sin is death, and the enemy of that life which thou renewest within us by thy Resurrection. I wish to die to sin, and live to grace. By the Mystery of life which thou art about to apply to my repentant heart, deign, I beseech thee, to preserve me from the misery of ever again forfeiting thy grace.
Act of Love
O Jesus! thy Resurrection is not only the trophy of thy victory, it is moreover, and more evidently, the grand triumph of thy love. It was out of love for us that thou didst assume our flesh and suffer the cruel Passion; and yet these proofs of thine adorable goodness towards us are but a preparation of the last great act of God’s love for sinful man, his creature. Thou risest from the tomb, thou takest possession of immortality; it is a triumph well merited by thy humiliations and sufferings: but it is all for our sake. What need hadst thou of the Crib or the Cross, O eternal and infinitely happy God? Why wouldst thou die, and then return to life? Why descend into the grave, and then leave it by a glorious Resurrection? Ah yes, I understand thee, my Jesus! it was because thou lovest us, who had merited death by our sins. In thine incomprehensible love, thou wouldst share in our death, that we might share in thy Resurrection. Whether nailed to the Cross, or rising from the tomb, thou art ever our own dearest Jesus, ever working for us; but the last act of thy almighty love is the greatest. What return can I make thee, O my Saviour, if not that of the warmest love? And when should I give it more fervently than now, when thou art about to give me that Bread of Heaven which is thyself, and by which thou unitest me to thy Resurrection, in order to make me a sharer of thy glory and immortality? Thou art mine, O Jesus! both in thy death and thy life! I wish to be thine, for time and for eternity. Amen.
In order to make your preparation complete, follow, with a lively faith and attention, all the mysteries of the Mass at which you are to receive Communion; using for this purpose the method we have given in the preceding chapter. For your thanksgiving after Communion, you may sometimes recite the following Acts:
Act of Adoration
O infinite majesty! thou art in me, and I am in thee. The earth shook when thou didst rise from the tomb; and now, at this blissful moment, feeling thee within me, my whole being thrills with delight. Thou art here in my heart; thou the great God, whose will alone created the light and whose almighty power reunited thy Soul and Body for a glorious Resurrection. I most profoundly adore thine omnipotence, which is now united to my poor nature. No, my Almighty Father! thou shalt find no resistance here; thou art my Sovereign Lord, and I delightedly confess it. Thou hast come down from heaven to this lowly dwelling of my misery, my nothingness, in order to receive my adoration; thou shalt have it, dear Lord! the humblest and best I can give: for my soul is overpowered by the wondrous honour thou art now conferring upon me! Thou art the infinite Being, the Creator and Preserver of all things! I adore thee as my King and Lord and Master: my happiness and glory is in my total dependence upon thee; the one ambition of my heart is to serve thee.
Act of Thanksgiving
O my Jesus! would that I had power to acknowledge as it deserves the favour of this thy visit. Thou art come to me in order to give me a share in thine own life. I am weak: the mere remembrance of thy Resurrection would not suffice to give me perseverance in the new life it has merited for me: I needed thee, and thou hast graciously come to me, silently and humbly, and yet with all thine omnipotence and glory. When thou didst visit thine Apostles on the day of thy Resurrection, thou saidst to them: ‘It is I, fear not!’ So, too, thou speakest to my soul: thou biddest me fear not at the sight of thy majesty and mine own misery and unworthiness. The sweet greeting given to them is now given to me: ‘Peace be with thee!’ Most gratefully do I receive it. Blessed be thou, my Jesus, for the provident and tender love wherewith thou hast visited me, broken the chains of my captivity, made me a partaker in thy triumph, fortified me against my enemies; and all this by putting within me thine own immortal life by the Communion I have just received! I will say, then, with the Royal Prophet: ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul! and let all that is within me bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul! and never forget all he hath done for thee! He hath redeemed thy life from destruction: he hath renewed thy youth as that of the eagle.’
Act of Love
O Jesus! laden thus with thy choicest favours, I must repay thy love by all the love this heart of mine can give. When Magdalen was at thy tomb, and heard the sound of thy voice, her soul melted within her; throwing herself at thy feet, she could say nothing but call thee ‘Master!’ And I, dear Jesus, my Master! I who not only hear thy words, but feel thee within me, what must I say to thee that will tell thee my love for thee? The disciples of Emmaus had but a conversation with thee, and they said to each other: ‘Was not our heart burning within us whilst he spoke in the way?’ What must I say, who have thee now resting in my heart? I must take courage, and tell thee that I love thee, my risen Jesus! Thou didst take Magdalen’s love, thou didst encourage that of thy disciples; deign also to receive mine. If it be weak, thou canst add to its ardour. I am firmly resolved by the aid of thy grace never to admit anything that could lessen my love of thee; I will do all in my power to give it increase; and, for this end. I will frequently approach this adorable Sacrament, for it is indeed the Sacrament of Love.
Act of Oblation
O Jesus! I belonged to thee, because I was redeemed by thee: I am thine now, because thou hast restored life to me by thy Resurrection, and because, by this happy Communion, thou hast made me a partaker in all the glory of thy victory over death. Henceforth, thy lot and mine are one; like thee, I am dead to sin and alive unto God. Take me, then, my dearest Jesus! I offer and give myself to thee, nor will I ever again leave thee. Do with me what thou wiliest; I am thy redeemed, and the companion of thy glory; my present, my future, my eternity, all are in thy hands. Therefore do I renounce myself, that I may be guided by thee; I renounce the world and its maxims, for they are enemies to the new life I am resolved to lead. But that I may be faithful, I have need of a powerful and never-failing aid. This aid, my Jesus! is thy Holy Spirit. Thou hast promised him to us. Our Easter joy will not be perfect until he come and dwell within us. Send him, then, I beseech thee, to me. Thou art to ascend into heaven: leave me not an orphan. I know that I have thee in this adorable Sacrament; but I cannot receive it as often as I wish, and my necessities recur at every hour. Vouchsafe, then, to renew within me the presence of this Holy Spirit, who will preserve and give efficacy to the graces thou hast bestowed upon me by this Communion.
O Mary! by the joy that filled thy maternal heart at the Resurrection of thy Jesus, I beseech thee to intercede for me with him, that I may never lose the grace of the visit he has this day granted me. Ye holy angels of God, who adore him now dwelling within me, be solicitous for the holiness and purity of my soul and body! All ye Saints of God, pray for me, that I may ever be faithful to him whom ye loved on earth, and now possess as your infinite Good and your eternal happiness! Amen.
 1 Cor. xi 26.
 St John vi 49, 50, 55.
 Rom. vi 9.
 St John vi 52.