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After I receive Holy Communion, I pray Padre Pio’s Stay with me. It expresses better than any prayer I know the reality of my own life as a Christian. Recently I have been putting some thoughts together on this, which I want to share with you.

So, here goes.

Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have
You present so that I do not forget You.
You know how easily I abandon You.

How true that is. AT the church I now attend, they have a ‘communion hymn’, and I just want to remain quiet and ponder my Lord, whom I have just received. But the world seems determined to move on; are we that frightened of the silence and the thoughts of our hearts that we cannot linger a moment?

Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak
and I need Your strength,
that I may not fall so often.

At the centre of my need for Christ is the recognition that I do fail often, I fall, I falter even when I do not fall, and in the words of the old general confession of the Church of England: ‘I have done those things which I ought not to have done, and I have not done those things which I ought to have done, and there is no health in me’; without my Lord’s help, there is no hope. I am weak, but if I lean on him, I can be strong.

Stay with me, Lord, for You are my life,
and without You, I am without fervor.

How often is there ‘fervor’ in my faith? How often does it become something apart from the rest of my life? I read my Bible, I pray, I go to church. But is there a fervor there, or is it a routine? I know the truth in this verse from Padre Pio, for there is no fervor without him.

Stay with me, Lord, for You are my light,
and without You, I am in darkness.

Of the the names of God, that he is eternal light is the one which means the most to me. When the darkness seems complete, when it threatens to overwhelm me, I light a candle before my statue of the Blessed Virgin, and then I am not afraid. Light will overcome the darkness.

Stay with me, Lord, to show me Your will.

How easily I forget his will when I leave church, or when I leave my prayers. What a weakness it is, how much at that point I feel the sin of Adam and Eve. How tempted I am to rely on my own will – though it is frail and feeble. If he stays with me, I go straight.

Stay with me, Lord, so that I hear Your voice
and follow You.

That still, small voice beneath the storms of life; it is there always – if I will just make the place and the silence where I can hear it. How tempting our modern world is with its instant access to noise. If I listen I can try to follow; I do not always succeed. But If I can’t hear, I hear only the devices and desires of my own heart.

Stay with me, Lord, for I desire to love You
very much, and always be in Your company.

I want to love God, always, but I am forgetful and sinful and I don’t do as I want to do; but if he is with me and I am in his company, I am conformed to him.

Stay with me, Lord, if You wish me to be faithful to You.

If Padre Pio can confess that, it emboldens me – for I forget so easily, and I am unfaithful so easily too. I confess my weakness and ask for forgiveness.

Stay with me, Lord, for as poor as my soul is,
I want it to be a place of consolation for You, a nest of love.

I am made to know God and to love him, so my soul longs for him and apart from him is desolate and without consolation.

Stay with me, Jesus, for it is getting late and the day is coming to a close, and life passes;
death, judgment, eternity approaches. It is necessary to renew my strength,
so that I will not stop along the way and for that, I need You.
It is getting late and death approaches,
I fear the darkness, the temptations, the dryness, the cross, the sorrows.
O how I need You, my Jesus, in this night of exile!

This valley of tears, this place of exile, where we sit by the waters of Babylon and mourn – darkness, temptation, dryness and sorrows – all can be healed only by the Cross – but how much I fear that Cross, that my strength will not be equal. I pray for strength to bear the burdens, but my faith is weak. My strength is in him.

Stay with me tonight, Jesus, in life with all its dangers. I need You.

How often is that my night prayer. Only he saves from the perils and dangers of the night, and if I feel him with me I can sleep, and hope to wake refreshed to do his work.

Let me recognize You as Your disciples did at the breaking of the bread,
so that the Eucharistic Communion be the Light which disperses the darkness,
the force which sustains me, the unique joy of my heart.

That captures exquisitely the sublime joy of receiving the Lord at the Eucharistic feast. At that moment I am lost, and happily lost, to the world. For a brief, but timeless moment. I am one with him – as I hope to be at the end of all earthly things.

Stay with me, Lord, because at the hour of my death, I want to remain united to You,
if not by communion, at least by grace and love.

At the last we can none of us escape the consequence of the sins of our first parents, and we are all heirs to death. But if we can die in him, we shall rise in him too.

Stay with me, Jesus, I do not ask for divine consolation, because I do not merit it,
but the gift of Your Presence, oh yes, I ask this of You!

There is no health in me, and if I were to get my just deserts, then how awful my fate; but his presence is consolation here on earth and hope hereafter.

Stay with me, Lord, for it is You alone I look for, Your Love, Your Grace, Your Will, Your Heart,
Your Spirit, because I love You and ask no other reward but to love You more and more.

In Him, his love, his grace, his sacred heart, alone is hope to be found. In Him I am brave, and as I know Him more, I love Him more.

With a firm love, I will love You with all my heart while on earth
and continue to love You perfectly during all eternity. Amen.

My will may fail, my actions fall short, my body be frail, but love will triumph – feeling the love, his love, which drew me to him, draws from me love in return. In that is my hope of salvation – that he knows how much I love him and will forgive my transgressions for the sake of Jesus Christ, in whose name alone is salvation to be found.

Thank you for reading my thoughts – and I’d be so interested in knowing yours.