By Jean Claude (1619–1687), from Self-Examination in Preparation for Receiving the Lord’s Supper
My God, my Savior, and my Father, I prostrate myself at the foot of your throne, to adore your majesty, and to acknowledge your righteousness. I am in your presence but dust and ashes, a worm of the earth, and most unworthy of your turning of your eyes towards me, or employing the cares of your Providence towards my good. For what is mortal man that you should regard him, or the son of man that you should visit him?
But moreover I am criminal dust and ashes, a sinful creature which deserves your severest judgments; and the more I consider myself, the more I find myself guilty of violating all your commandments, ungrateful for the many favors which I have received from your goodness, and unfaithful to all the engagements of my vocation. Alas! Lord, if you should take notice of my iniquities, how could I subsist in your sight? I have stopped my ears a thousand times against the exhortations of your Word, and have been deaf to your threatening, and scarce sensible of your corrections; busied with the vain and perishing things of this world, I have allowed myself often to be surprised in their snares, neglecting the things of my salvation, and your Kingdom. How often have I preferred my passions, and interests against the rules of my duty, and your righteousness? How many times have I wandered from your ways, and thrown myself into the ways of the world, where I should have been lost, if you had not stretched out your hand to have rescued me? Every moment of my life might reproach me for my weaknesses, and my imperfections. My conscience accuses me, and my sins are on every side, clothing me with confusion, for your eyes are too pure to allow sin, or to take delight in unrighteousness. I condemn myself therefore in your presence, and confess, that if you would deal with me in your rigor, you would find in me too much reason to deliver me up to your just vengeance, and have cause enough to withdraw from me all the precious signs of the Covenant and of adoption which you have given me and so absolutely reject me from your Communion.
But you are a gracious and compassionate God, and moved with the bowels of a Father towards his children. Those that you do once love, you love to the end; your gifts, and vocation are without repentance, and you have promised, that though our sins are red as blood, you would make them as white as snow. Have mercy on me then, for I fly to your great mercies; my God, pardon me my faults, and according to the greatness of your compassion, blot out all my transgressions. I know you require the conversion of sinners that they might live, but I know also, that though my repentance is not such as it ought to be, yet you do not quench the smoking flax, nor break a bruised reed. Your dear Son died for me, and rose again for my justification, and is ascended into Heaven, and there makes intercession for me; listen to the voice of his blood, pleading for me, and in respect of his sufferings and merits, restore to me your joy and salvation. I acknowledge no other Savior nor Mediator but him, nor place any confidence but in his sacrifice, for he is the Way, and the Truth, and the Life, and none can come unto you, but by Him. Impute his dying obedience unto me, and clothe me with his perfect righteousness, that I may appear unreproved in your sight.
And since you now call me to your divine table; grant me grace, O Lord, to receive worthily these sacred testimonies of my salvation. Loosen my thoughts from earthly things, and raise me to the meditation of the great and celestial objects, which are represented to me in your Sacrament. Increase in me the faith of these mysteries, that with a heart truly purified, I may receive the Body and Blood of your Son, as the victim which was once offered unto you on the cross; and now represented to me in this heavenly action. Let me receive them with a lively faith, and with a sincere acceptance, as you are pleased to give them in sincere love. Let me accompany this faith with a profound humility, and holy gratitude, that without any merits of our own; no, when we were plunged into sin, and condemnation, you did draw out of your treasury this eternal manna, this Bread of Life; to communicate thereby to us, a hope of a most happy and heavenly immortality, which you have prepared for us above in your celestial mansions. These things, my God, I beg of you, in the name of your Son to whom, with you, and the Holy Spirit, one God blessed forever, be given all honor and power and glory, from age to age, Amen.