My confessor said something to me today that reminded me of a prayer that impressed me back in the days of my monastic youth, and still does: The Act of Love of Father Jean-Baptiste Muard (1809-1854), founder of the Society of Saint Edmund and of the Benedictine Abbey of La-Pierre-Qui-Vire. Thirty-seven years ago, if I am not mistaken, my excellent Novice Master told me that he said this prayer every day after Holy Communion. It is extraordinary the way certain things lodge themselves in one’s memory.
Père Muard’s Act of Love
Desiring to love Thee, my God, as much as is possible to a feeble creature,
I desire that all my thoughts, all my wishes, all my sentiments,
all my aspirations, all the pulsations of my heart,
all my movements, be so many acts of love.
I desire that every character I trace in writing,
every word, every letter, I read be to me so many acts of love.
Would that I could offer Thee each day as many acts of most fervent love
as there are grains of sand on the sea-shore,
leaves on the trees of the forest,
atoms in the air, and created things, and multiply them to infinity.
I offer Thee, my God, in compensation for my weakness,
all the acts of love of all the angels and all the saints in heaven and earth;
all the acts of love. of the most holy Virgin and, above all,
the acts of love for Thee of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Alas ! my God, that I cannot love Thee as Thou deservest to be loved;
give me, then, the heart of a Seraph or, rather,
fill my heart with the love of all the Seraphim,
the love of all the Saints, the love of all hearts,
and increase it ever more and more
that I may love Thee as much as I desire to love Thee. Amen.