Communion Prayer of Philoxenus

When you have extended your hands and taken the body, bow, and put your hands before your face, and worship the living Body whom you hold. Then speak with him in a low voice, and with your gaze resting upon him say to him:

I carry you, living God, who is incarnate in the bread, and I embrace you in my palms, Lord of the worlds whom no world has contained. You have circumscribed yourself in a fiery coal within a fleshly palm–you Lord, who with your palm measured out the dust of the earth. You are holy, God incarnate in my hands in a fiery coal which is a body. See, I hold you, although there is nothing that contains you; a bodily hand embraces you, Lord of natures whom a fleshly womb embraced. Within a womb you became a circumscribed body, and now within a hand you appear to me as a small morsel.

As you have made me worthy to approach you and receive you–and see, my hands embrace you confidently–make me worthy, Lord, to eat you in a holy manner and to taste the food of your body as a taste of your life. Instead of the stomach, the body’s member, may the womb of my intellect and the hand of my mind receive you. May you be conceived in me as you were in the womb of the Virgin. There you appeared as an infant, and your hidden self was revealed to the world as corporeal fruit; may you also appear in me here and be revealed from me in fruits that are spiritual works and just labors pleasing to your will.

And by your food may my desires be killed; and by the drinking of your cup may my passions be quenched. And instead of the members of my body, may my thoughts receive strength from the nourishment of your body. Like the manifest members of my body, may my hidden thoughts be engaged n exercise and in running and in works according to your living commands and your spiritual laws. From the food of your body and the drinking of your blood may I wax strong inwardly, and excel outwardly, and run diligently, and to attain to the full stature of an interior human being. May I become a perfect man, mature in the intelligence residing in all my spiritual members, my head being crowned with the crown of perfection of all of my behavior. May I be a royal diadem in your hands, as you promised me, O hidden God whose manifestness I embrace in the perfection of your body.

St Philoxenus of Mabbug

Aelred Cody, “An Instruction of Philoxenus of Mabbug on Gestures and Prayer When One Receives Communion in the Hand, with a History of the Manner of Receiving the Eucharistic Bread in the West Syrian Church,” in *Rule of Prayer, Rule of Faith*, ed. Nathan Mitchell and John F. Baldovin (Liturgical Press, 1996).


 
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