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The sequence of sentences in Anima Christi have rich associations with Catholic concepts that relate to the Holy Eucharist (Body and Blood of Christ), Baptism (water) and the Passion of Jesus (Holy Wounds).
As it was once mistakenly attributed to St. Ignatius Loyola, who included it in his "Spiritual Exercises," it is sometimes referred to as the "Aspirations of St. Ignatius Loyola."
|Latin text||Poetic English translation|
|Translation by Cardinal John Henry Newman|
- Soul of Christ make me holy,
- Body of Christ save me,
- Blood of Christ fill me with love,
- Water from Christ's side, wash me,
- Passion of Christ strengthen me,
- Good Jesus hear me,
- Within your wounds hide me,
- Never let me be parted from you,
- From the evil enemy protect me,
- At the hour of my death call,
- And tell me to come to You,
- That with your saints I may praise you,
- Through all eternity,
In the early nineteenth century the prayer was translated and published as the English Hymn "Soul of my Saviour, Sanctify my breast" by Edward Caswall. Since then it has been popular as a communion hymn in Catholic communities and has been included in some 43 different hymnals.
This well known Catholic prayer dates to the early fourteenth century and was possibly written by Pope John XXII, but its authorship remains uncertain. The prayer takes its name from its first two words in Latin. Anima Christi means "the soul of Christ." The Anima Christi was popularly believed to have been composed by St. Ignatius Loyola, as he puts it at the beginning of his "Spiritual Exercises" and often refers to it. However the prayer has been found in a number of prayer books printed during Ignatius' youth and is in manuscripts which were written a hundred years before his birth (1491). James Mearns, the English hymnologist, found it in a manuscript of the British Museum which dates back to about 1370. In the library of Avignon there is preserved a prayer book of Cardinal Peter De Luxembourg, who died in 1387, which contains the Anima Christi in practically the same form as we have it today. It has also been found inscribed on one of the gates of the Alcazar of Seville, which dates back to the time of Don Pedro the Cruel (1350–69)
This prayer was so well known and so popular at the time of St. Ignatius, that in the first edition of his "Spiritual Exercises" he merely mentions it, evidently supposing that the reader already knew it. In the later editions, it was printed in full. It was by assuming that everything in the book was written by St. Ignatius that it came to be looked upon as his composition.