Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

"Keep Me Safe..."

Communion of the Apostles

THE PRESENT TRANSLATION OF THE ROMAN MISSAL with which we started to pray the Mass in Advent of 2011, includes beautiful new translations of the private or secret prayers the priest prays before he receives Holy Communion

The Body of Christ keep me safe for eternal life.
The Blood of Christ keep me safe for eternal life.

The previous  translation said, "The Body of Christ ~ the Blood of Christ, bring me..." But the word custodire, (from which we derive the words custody or custodian) conveys more a sense of protection and care. 

The priest is praying  to be protected from the dangers that can assail him from within and without. We can all pray these little lines in a dangerous world. So I'm asking to be kept safe while on the road or in the air, and from angry people and their assaults and traps, from the new wild west of the Internet...

But notice that the prayer asks to be kept safe for eternal life. That's a prayer that has heaven in mind; that I would be safeguarded from anything that would cause me to lose the Holy Spirit, as the monks say.

Keep me safe from pretending.
Keep me safe from an unwillingness to accept help.
Keep me safe from unbelief.
Keep me safe from wild fears and imaginings.
Keep me safe from thinking I'm indispensable.
Keep me safe from being obsessed with my work.
Keep me safe from living in the past (however difficult that may be).
Keep me safe from interrupting others.
Keep me safe from bragging.
Keep me safe from beginning every other sentence with "I" or "My".
Keep me safe from not listening.
Keep me safe from negative exaggerations.
Keep me safe from attention seeking.
Keep me safe from withholding praise from someone else.
Keep me safe from thinking I am not loved.


  1. But does the priest really think about what he is saying every time he repeats these words? I fall into the trap of saying my prayers sometimes without really thinking about what the words mean. How does a priest who does this everyday, sometimes more than once a day, keep the meaning of it in his heart without it becoming routine?

  2. The priest is as distract-able as anyone else and can be a victim of routine, believe me. But for whatever reason - perhaps because I need these words so much - or maybe because they are isolated lines that stand by themselves - I"m always really with the meaning of what I"m saying at that moment.

  3. It is sad to say that many people these days do not think about life after death. They live for the here and now. Keep me safe from forgetting that my life on earth is short, but my life in heaven is forever. Something unfathomable to the human mind.

    1. "Keep me safe from forgetting heaven." Oh yes, surely there are many dozens more things for which we might pray to be kept safe. The more we know ourselves (many people do not) the more deeply we can pray.

  4. Fr. Stephen, thank you so much for all of your beautiful prayers. They are inspiring and they keep me thinking. Far from routine.