We're off. Welcome to the first of my personal A-Z Challenge posts for 2016. What have we in our lucky dip today? Art journaling perhaps? anteater? anthropomorphism? Alice in Wonderland?
Hard choice. Still, given that those of us who are of a Christian persuasion are currently in Holy Week, I plumped on the Anima Christi, (Soul of Christ), one of the key prayers used in the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. The which is in part an explanation for my long long absence from the blogosphere. I made the full 'Exercises' in their residential form back last autumn at St Beunos Jesuit spirituality centre in North Wales, UK, and have been processing and unpacking my time there ever since. It's a once in a lifetime experience for most of us; unless you happen to be a Jesuit, which I'm not!
So to the Anima Christi. The version I've posted here is David Fleming SJ's popular paraphrase of the original ; one which I found spoke to me most. Our little group were each given a copy of Hearts on Fire and of all the prayers there, this one stood out and became a mainstay for me during my time in retreat. It is, after all, one that's often recommended you pray before a time of prayer, it's introduced early on during the First Week . It's a very trinitarian, exemplifiying the whole ethos and key movement of the exercises: to help the retreatant journey towards a freedom of complete dependence and self-giving to Christ and to become His ambassador in the world. I'd love to say that by the time I returned home after more than a month of intense prayer and mediation that I was permanently in that place! But I'd be lying. And I'm sure that family, friends and everyone who has to deal with me on a day to day basis would agree! Here it is, anyway.
Jesus, may all that is in you flow into me.
May your body and blood be my food and drink.
May your passion and death be my strength and life.
Jesus, with you by my side enough has been given.
May the shelter I seek be the shadow of your cross.
Let me not run from the love which you offer.
But hold me safe from the forces of evil.
On each of my dyings shed your light and your love.
Keep calling to me until that day comes.
When with our saints, I may praise you forever.
David Fleming, S.J.
Soul of Christ Prayer
Source: Hearts on Fire: Praying With the Jesuits (pp. 3-4)