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
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee
From the malicious enemy defend me
In the hour of my death call me
And bid me come unto Thee
That I may praise Thee with Thy saints
and with Thy angels
Forever and ever
I’m starting a new blog series where I post a prayer and reflect on it. Kicking us off is the Anima Christi, a prayer that dates to the 14th century. St. Ignatius of Loyola used this prayer in the preface of his Spiritual Exercises. Many people think he wrote it, but the real author is most likely Pope John XXII.
1. Soul of Christ, sanctify me. The first Adam’s sin caused the fall of mankind and Original Sin, the uncleanliness of all human souls. Christ, the second Adam, came to wash away that sin and redeem our broken world.
2-3. Body of Christ, save me. Blood of Christ, inebriate me. The Eucharist is one of the best things about being Catholic; each time we share in Christ’s body gives us a little more of the divine. It saves us not just from sin but from emptiness.
4. Water from the side of Christ, wash me. After Jesus died, a soldier pierced His side and blood and water flowed out (John 19:34). Jesus is also living water that washes away our sins.
5. Passion of Christ, strengthen me. Christ’s Passion is a model for our suffering, a reminder that just as he suffered, so shall we. But our sufferings too shall pass, and when they do, glorious things await.
6. O good Jesus, hear me. A simple, but elegant plea. I am but one of millions asking for His assistance, and yet, He hears.
7. Within Thy wounds hide me. A gory but apt image. By his stripes, we are healed, by his wounds we are saved from our sins.
8. Suffer me not to be separated from Thee. Forget fire and brimstone, that’s what Hell really is: being separated from God, the source of all love. Some may think that this line refers to a fear of going to Hell; rather it’s a fear of being separated from God. After all, if I truly love God with all my heart, all my soul, and all my strength, what could be worse than being separated from Him for all eternity?
9. From the malicious enemy defend me. Enemies, large and small, will attempt to derail our efforts at leading a holy life. Some do this out of a sincere hatred for our beliefs, some out of a misguided concern for our welfare. (“Why are you wasting so much time on that claptrap? You don’t actually believe in it, do you??”) Sometimes we need a little divine help to discern the correct defense.
10-11. In the hour of my death call me And bid me come unto Thee. As with line 8, this is not about fear, it’s about love. If we love Jesus, nothing could be better than being united with him in Heaven for eternity.
12-14. That I may praise Thee with Thy saints and with Thy angels Forever and ever. The Catholic Church isn’t just the Church here on Earth, it’s also the church in heaven – the angels and all the holy men and women who have gone before us.
1. Anima Christi at the Catholic Encyclopedia (historical info)
2. A more in-depth discussion at Our Catholic Prayers