Introduction to Anima Christi
The Anima Christi is a moving prayer that petitions Christ for protection, strength, and guidance. It offers us not only an opportunity to meditate on Christ, his passion, and his love for us, but to ask for his protection and grace to our children and loved ones.
The prayer calls us into an intimacy with Christ, and one that I love praying after receiving communion. I’ve found this is a ‘centering prayer’, and can be especially helpful when we are busy or overwhelmed. It’s a great one to keep in your back pocket for times of needs.
What is the Anima Christi?
The actual origins of the Anima Christi are uncertain but the prayer has been widely attributed to St. Ignatius Loyola (1491–1556). St. Ignatius was the key founding member of the Society of Jesus, better known as the Jesuits, in the 16th century. Many historians argue that it predates Ignatius by as much as 150 years and long tradition tells us that it was a favorite of his. Regardless of its origin, it is a prayer rich in imagery and sacred to our faith.
I first learned about the prayer at a silent Ignatius retreat in Omaha, Nebraska. Saint Ignatius composed a set of Christian meditations called the ‘Spiritual Exercises,’ intended to help participants in religion retreats to discern God’s will and personal commitment to Jesus. In many cases, the Anima Christi is the first prayer of the exercise.
A normal practice for many Catholics is to recite the Anime Christi following communion, and can often be used as a prayer of spiritual communion when you are unable to receive Holy Communion.
Another way to practice this prayer is to pray a line at a time. Here’s a great article that breaks down the Anima Christi line by line. This is a great practice when reciting this prayer - pause and reflect on each line. I’ve also found it a great practice to say the prayer through the day, one line at a time. It’s an easy way to sanctify your day.
The Anima Christi
Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesus, hear me.
Within your wounds, hide me.
Separated from you, let me never be.
From the enemy, defend me.
In the hour of my death, call me,
And close to you bid me,
That with your saints and angels I may praise you
Forever and ever. Amen.
How to pray the Anima Christi for others
This prayer can become a blessing for your children or loved ones by simply changing ‘me’ to your child’s name. This can be for children, spouses, grandparents, friends, someone how needs prayer or someone you just met!
The priest who taught me this practice, explained that his mother did this for each of her seven children, praying an Anima Christi for each one of them every day. What a holy practice!
Here’s what the prayer would look like if I was praying for a loved one named ‘Dexter.’
Soul of Christ, sanctify Dexter.
Body of Christ, save Dexter.
Blood of Christ, inebriate Dexter.
Water from the side of Christ, wash Dexter.
Passion of Christ, strengthen Dexter.
O good Jesus, hear Dexter.
Within your wounds, hide Dexter.
Separated from you, let Dexter never be.
From the enemy, defend Dexter.
In the hour of his death, call Dexter,
And close to you bid Dexter,
That with your saints and angels Dexter may praise you
Forever and ever. Amen.
We encourage you to make the Anima Christi part of your regular prayer routine. It’s a beautiful prayer that encapsulates our Lord’s passion, his precious blood, his divine protection and our need to be sanctified. Use this prayer as a way to recenter your own faith life, and provide graces to your Children and loved ones.
Interested in other powerful prayers? Here's our encouragement to pray the Litany of Humility.
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