Readings for before the Watch of the Blessed Sacrament

The following readings are laminated onto cards to be reflected on during the Watch of the Blessed Sacrament (until Midnight on Maundy Thursday)

In the rush and noise of life, as you have intervals, step within yourselves and be still. Wait upon God and feel his good presence; this will carry you through your day’s business.

William Penn (1644-1718)

Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
Forgive our foolish ways!
Reclothe us in our rightful mind;
In purer lives your service find,
In deeper reverence, praise.
Drop your still dews of quietness
Till all our strivings cease:
Take from our lives the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of your peace.

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)

0 Lord, my God, grant us your peace;
already, indeed, you have made us rich in all things!
Give us that peace of being at rest,
that sabbath peace, the peace which knows no end.

St Augustine (334-430)

O Lord, support us all the day long of this troublous life,
until the shades lengthen and the evening comes,
and the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over,
and our work is done.
Then, Lord, in your great mercy grant us safe lodging,
a holy rest and peace at last,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen

Cardinal Newman

Watch, dear Lord, with those who wake, or watch or weep tonight,
and give your angels charge over those who sleep;
Tend your sick ones, O Lord Christ, rest your weary ones,
bless your dying ones, soothe your suffering ones,
pity your afflicted ones, shield your joyous ones,
and all for your love’s sake.
Amen

St Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

May the Light of lights come
To my dark heart from thy place;
My the Spirit’s wisdom come
To my heart’s tablet from my Saviour.
Be the peace of the Spirit mine this night,
Be the peace of the Son mine this night,
Be the peace of the Father mine this night,
The peace of all peace be mine this night,
Each morning and evening of my life.

Celtic Prayer

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

I place myself in the presence of Him, in whose Incarnate Presence I am before. I place myself there.

I adore Thee, O my Saviour, present here as God and man, in soul and body, in true flesh and blood.

I acknowledge and confess that I kneel before that Sacred Humanity, which was conceived in Mary’s womb and lay in Mary’s bosom; which grew up to man’s estate, and by the Sea of Galilee called the Twelve, wrought miracles, and spoke words of wisdom and peace; which in due season hung on the cross, lay in the tomb, rose from the dead, and now reigns in heaven.

I praise, and bless, and give myself wholly to Him, Who is the true Bread of my soul, and my everlasting joy.

(John Henry Newman)

Hail to Thee, True Body

(A Prayer to our Eucharistic Lord)

Hail to thee, true body born
From Virgin Mary’s womb!
The same that on the cross was nailed
And bore for man the bitter doom.

Thou, whose side was pierced and flowed
Both with water and with blood;
Suffer us to taste of thee,
In our life’s last agony.

O kind, O loving one!
O sweet Jesus, Mary’s Son!

Matthew 26

Gethsemane

36Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

39Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

40Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

42He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

43When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

45Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

Jesus Arrested

47While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” 49Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.

50Jesus replied, “Friend, do what you came for.”[d

Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. 51With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

52“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”

55At that time Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.


Mark 14

Gethsemane

32They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”

35Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

37Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? 38Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

39Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. 40When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him.

41Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

Jesus Arrested

43Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders.

44Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” 45Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. 46The men seized Jesus and arrested him. 47Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

48“Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? 49Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” 50Then everyone deserted him and fled.

51A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, 52he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.

Luke 22

Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives

39Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.[c

45When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46“Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”

Jesus Arrested

47While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, 48but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

49When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” 50And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.

51But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

52Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? 53Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.”

John 18

Jesus Arrested

1When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was an olive grove, and he and his disciples went into it.

2Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. 3So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.

4Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”

5“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.

“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) 6When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

7Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”
And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

8“I told you that I am he,” Jesus answered. “If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” 9This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”[a

10Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)

11Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”

Lord,

you understand me

you know my every thought

my brain is not a mystery to you.

Enter into my mind, Lord

Guide and direct my thoughts.

Be before me when I speak,

Be beside me when I act

Be within me when I listen

That I might possess

The wisdom born of love

For you are love

The love which understands

Everything. Amen

Frank Topping, 20th Century

My Lord

And my God

John 20:28

O most sacred redeemer,

Give us wisdom to recognise you,

Intelligence to understand you,

Diligence to seek you,

Patience to wait for us,

Eyes to see you,

Hearts to meditate on you

And lives to proclaim you,

Through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ Our Lord.

Benedict of Nursia 6th C

Lord, you are the bread if life

and the well of holiness

Just as you feed us day by day

With the food that sustains our bodies

Keeping us alive on earth,

We pray that you will feed our souls

With the spiritual bread of eternity,

Making us ready for heaven.

Just as you satisfy our bodily thirst

With cool water from the rivers and streams

We pray that you will pour the waters

Of holiness into our souls,

Making our every work and action

A joyful sign of your love

Basil of Caesarea 6th C

Stay with us, Lord Jesus,

So that we shall begin to shine as you shine,

As a light to others.

The light will be all from you

It will be you who shine through us upon others

Give light to them as well as to us;

Light them with us, through us.

Help us to witness to you without preaching;

Not by words but by example

And by the sympathetic influence of what we do;

By our visible resemblance to your saints

And the evident fullness of our love for you.

JH Newman 19th C

Father, I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,
and in all Your creatures –
I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands,
without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,

For you are my Father.

Charles de Foucault, 20th Century