The priest prepares for Communion by quietly saying one of two prayers addressed to Jesus Christ. These prayers are suitable for use by the laity as well, who are also encouraged to make a similar act of preparation. (GIRM 84)Of the two prayers the priest can use for personal preparation before receiving Holy Communion, the first prayer is from the ninth century. It echoes St. Peter’s confession and recalls the work of the Trinity in our redemption. The priest prays to be kept far from sin and close to Christ by the Eucharist:
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, Mt 16:16; Jn 11:27When St. Peter confessed Jesus to be “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16:16), he only saw a man standing before him, yet he did not hesitate to profess His divinity. Standing at the altar, the priest sees neither Christ’s divinity or humanity, but with rock-like conviction and faith, he confesses both.
who, by the will of the Father Acts 2:23; 3:18
and the work of the Holy Spirit, Rom 8:11; Heb 9:14
through your Death gave life to the world, Jn 3:16; 6:33; Rom 5:18
free me by this, your most holy Body and Blood, Acts 13:39; Heb 9:14
from all my sins and from every evil; Eph 1:7; 2 Tim 4:18
keep me always faithful to your commandments, Jn 15:10; 1 Cor 7:19
and never let me be parted from you. Rom 8:35-39
This prayer succinctly reminds us that our redemption, as well as the liturgy, is the work of the Most Holy Trinity. (Catechism 1073) It was through the Father's will and the action of the Holy Spirit that the Son died and was raised, giving life to the world.
There are a few small changes in wording to this prayer, but one which deserves some attention is the change from “Keep me faithful to your teaching” to “Keep me faithful to your commandments”. This reminds us that Jesus has not simply left us teachings to learn, but commandments to follow: “this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.” (1 Jn 5:3; Jn 14:15; 15:17; Catechism 1391, 2053)