I bought The Blessed Sacrament Prayerbook by Fr. F. X. Lasance while I was going through the church annulment process. I was in crisis. Twenty-nine years earlier I had entered a very brief and painful Catholic marriage. We divorced and two years later I remarried outside the church. Thereafter I could not receive communion. Due to the circumstances of the first marriage, I had only one crucial witness who had much personal knowledge of our marital situation. He was way late in responding to the inquiry of the diocese, and I could not contact him. I sat down in despair, face to face with the possibility I might never be able to receive communion in the church again.
I examined my options (i.e. leaving the Catholic church for another), and they were completely unacceptable. After twenty-nine years I had not undertaken the annulment process lightly, because I knew it would be very painful. I was finally ready to be completely Catholic again. I cannot say that I was ever completely unsympathetic with the Church’s “let no man put asunder” position on marriage. I took refuge in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, §1651, which offered me some encouragement and which I quote in part: They (meaning people like me) should be encouraged to listen to the Word of God, to attend the Sacrifice of the Mass, to persevere in prayer, to contribute to works of charity and to community efforts to justice, to bring up their children in the Christian faith, to cultivate the spirit and practice of penance and thus implore, day by day, God’s grace.
If you do not have a Catholic Catechism, get one! There is a good Kindle version too. Hold it close. It is far easier reading than the tax code and full of more wisdom and guidance than I ever would have expected.
During this time I also became aware of what is called spiritual communion. Saint Alphonsus Liguori is the author of the following prayer of spiritual communion, which appears on page 174 of the BSP:
“My Jesus, I believe that thou art in the Blessed Sacrament, I love Thee above everything, and I long for Thee in my soul.
Since I cannot now receive Thee sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart.
As though Thou wert already come, I embrace Thee, and unite myself entirely to Thee. Allow me not to be separated from Thee. Jesus, my sweet love, wound, inflame this heart of mine, so that it may be always and all on fire for Thee.”
Wow. Divorced and remarried Catholics take heart! God still wants you. He still offers you His Grace. At that moment I resolved that I would become a practicing Catholic no matter what. If I were to be left with nothing more than spiritual communion and the wonderful devotions and prayers to the Blessed Sacrament that are in this book, then so be it. I was already familiar with the BSP, because it is an old prayerbook than can be downloaded (along with many other wonderful Catholic books!) at Sancte Pater, or by doing a search at Google Books. But I decided I wanted a copy of my own to hold in my hands. It is currently published by Loreto Publications.
Postscript: The BSP has far more than just prayers and devotions to the Blessed Sacrament. It is over 1200 pages long and is an endless source of grace and inspiration for Catholics, and I will refer to it often here. I might also add that my witness did come through for me like a trooper, and I am in full communion with the Catholic Church.