The Eucharistic Prayer of John Ruusbroec

The following prayer comes from the 14th century Flemish mystic John Ruusbroec, also known as John Ruysbroeck. I think it’s one of the loveliest examples of eucharistic spirituality that I have ever come across. It comes from his work called “A Mirror of Eternal Blessedness” and this translation is taken from The Spiritual Espousals and Other Works, published by Paulist Press.

you have said, “Without me you can do nothing.”
You have also said, “unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you.”
You have said in addition, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I in him.”
Lord, I am presently a poor sinner and unworthy of the heavenly food which you yourself are. Nevertheless, Lord, you have given and left yourself for the sinner who is displeasing to himself, who contritely confesses and laments his sins, and who has a genuine trust in you. Such a person is pleasing to you, for you have taught us that you came to call not the just but the sinner, so that he might repent and do penance for his sins.
I am therefore bold and outspoken, forgetful of myself and of all my transgressions because of your grace, for you yourself have said, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will refresh you.” You have also said that you are our living bread which has come down from heaven and that anyone who eats it will live forever. You are also the living spring which flows out of your Father’s heart by means of the Holy Spirit.
As a consequence, Lord, the more I eat, the more hungry I become, and the more I drink, the more thirsty I become, for I cannot take you fully into myself and consume you. But I ask you, Lord, of your great nobility, that you take me fully into yourself and consume me, so that I might become one life with you and in you and that I, in your life, might be able to rise above myself and above all particular forms and exercises to a state devoid of forms — that is, to a state of formless love where you are your own beatitude and that of all the saints. It is there that I will find the fruit of all the sacraments, of all particular forms, and of all holiness.

And all God’s people said, “Amen!”

Entering the Year of Mercy: Are You Willing to Take the "Rahner Challenge"?
Why Is "Mysticism" A Dirty Word?
What Has Not Yet Been Revealed
Is Mysticism Genetic?
About Carl McColman

Author of Befriending Silence, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Answering the Contemplative Call, and other books. Retreat leader. Speaker. Professed Lay Cistercian.

  • Joe Rawls

    Ties in nicely with what I know of the Orthodox teaching on the relationship between the Eucharist and theosis.

  • Jeff

    Integral Theory like the witch in Lewis’s Narnia books attempt to bind Jesus of Mazareth with cords and shave off his mane to show he is “only a big cat” and then slay him with a stone knife of logic based on faulty premises (one is that spirit is generic and expressed in culturally different forms). Then like the ape in the final Narnia book strives to Shift (the ape’s name) to a false Jesus (one who has realized “Christ consciousness”), a donkey dressed in a dead lion’s skin.

    “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.’ Colossians 2:16

    Free yourself from a philosophy that attempts to defang and de-talon Jesus who is neither tame or safe, but is good. Embrace the true philosophy based on Jesus as the eternal, only begotten incarnate Son of God. The philosophy found in the Nicene Creed and followed by Patrick founder of Celtic Christianity. Be truly Catholic.

    Vapid, bloodless, Christless integral spirituality or the flesh and bones of Jesus who appeared to Paul saying “I am Jesus of Nazareth” not “I am universal Christ Consciousness – care to have some?”

    Integral theory is a modern Gnosticism that like the old one abhors the unique fleshly incarnation of the eternal Son of God – which according to I John identifies Integralism as a species of anti-Christ.
    Eat of Christ’s flesh and drink of his blood. Trust in the utterly, eternally physical Jesus.

  • Ron Krumpos

    One of my favorite quotations of Ruysbroeck is:

    “He has created each person’s soul as a living mirror, on which he has impressed the image of his nature. In this way he lives imaged forth in us
    and we in him, for our created life is one…with this image and life which
    we have eternally in God.”

    The soul is the reflection of God, not the mirror of the ego.