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Anima Christi

The other day, as I was sorting through and throwing out various leaflets and documents which had gathered into an untidy pile on my desk, I came across a Mass booklet from a Jesuit friend's final vows. Or rather, as it was upside down, I came across the prayer at the back, which caused a lengthy pause, before I decided on a 'stay of execution', at least until after today's feast of St Ignatius.

The Anima Christi was already a popular prayer by the time of St Ignatius, who gave it pride of place in his Spiritual Exercises. But as a child and teenager I knew nothing of that: instead, I grew up with Soul of my Saviour being sung after Communion, recoiling from some of its rather vivid imagery (Blood of my Saviour, bathe me in thy tide - yuck! No thank you!). In my twenties I came across the original, in which the pray-er asks for the Blood of Christ to 'inebriate me', and then, some years ago I discovered Newman's translation, including the line Blood of Christ, fill my veins. This transfusion, of Christ's very life into mine, feels more like something I can pray for. In this adaptation it's the opening petition, setting the tone for the rest of the prayer.

Happy and inspiring feast of St Ignatius to you all... and may all that is in Jesus flow into us, so that we do not seek to run from the immense love, with all its consequences, that God continues to offer us...



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