Sunday, 15 April 2012

Anima Christi

ANIMA Christi, sanctifica me.
Corpus Christi, salva me.
Sanguis Christi, inebria me.
Aqua lateris Christi, lava me.
Passio Christi, conforta me.
O bone Iesu, exaudi me.
Intra tua vulnera absconde me.
Ne permittas me separari a te.
Ab hoste maligno defende me.
In hora mortis meae voca me.
Et iube me venire ad te,
Ut cum Sanctis tuis laudem te
in saecula saeculorum.


SOUL of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds, hide me.
Separated from Thee let me never be.
From the malignant enemy, defend me.
At the hour of death, call me.
To come to Thee, bid me,
That I may praise Thee in the company
Of Thy Saints, for all eternity.


The origin of this prayer is unknown. It appears in the Roman Missal, and at the beginning of St. Ignatius of Loyola's spiritual exercises. It could not be Ignatius' though, as it appears in a document from 1334, a good century before he was born. Some have attributed it to Blessed Bernadine of Feltre (1439-1494), but again the prayer was around at least a century before his time. It is also know as 'The Prayer of St. Patrick', and many say its origins lie with him, in 7th Century Ireland, but there is no copy that dates that far back. Whatever the origins, I love it and always have. I first heard it, or rather just snippets of it, in the film 'The Mission'. A group of three missionaries are gathered at the bottom of a raging waterfall before the drama of the film begins. The camera is taking a wide view of the scene, and the figures are small, we do not yet know who they are. As the camera draws nearer you hear them praying, Jeremy Irons is leading, 'Soul of Christ..' he says, and they respond, 'Sanctify us.' I watched the film as a child, but was caught by that prayer, and years later looked it up in a library. For me it is prayer for the adventure of life. I brought it with me, on a small laminated card, when I walked the camino - and have carried it on my travels ever since, never far from my handbag or pocket.

I chose the Anima Christi particularly for today because of those confusing lines to which I have become so attached, 'within Thy wounds, hide me. Separated from Thee let me never be.' I used to find those words so macabre and off putting, but after a while I grew to love them. Today is the day of the gory Gospel, as I used to call it, Thomas the doubter peers into the side of Christ to make sure he is real, he touches the wounds of the risen Jesus. The question is, if you are going to rise from the dead, why keep the battle scars? Timothy Radcliffe OP recalls that Charles Peguy told the story of a man who dies and goes to heaven. When he meets the recording angel he is asked, ‘Show me your wounds.’ And he replies, ‘Wounds? I have not got any.’ And the Angel says, ‘Did you never think that anything was worth fighting for?’ Those lines in the Anima Christi remind me, that God thinks I am worth fighting for, and because of that, I can hide in His side: Dieu mon abri. 

In 2000 John Paul II proclaimed that the Sunday after Easter should be the Feast of Divine Mercy. The Feast has its origins in the private revelations of the Polish mystic St. Faustina Kowalska. It is a celebration of God's unfailing love and mercy. You can read about it here, or hear the devotions of the day here.

Since this Sunday is dedicated to a Feast inaugurated by John Paul II, and the Feast is one of his favourites, I think the food to match it should be one of his favourites too: Kremowka Papieska, as it has been renamed. Then, God can save the whole world and we can all eat cream cake. What better? :-) xx

I've put the recipe here.

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