Many saints suggest spending an extended period of time in prayer after receiving Holy Communion at Mass.
At the conclusion of Mass, most of us have various commitments and responsibilities that prevent us from staying at church to remain in prayer. Living in a fast-paced world, it’s difficult to pause for a few minutes to give thanks to God for the gift of Holy Communion.
However, many saints have encouraged the pious practice of remaining in prayer for an extended amount of time after receiving Holy Communion.
In 1980 the Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship published a document, Inaestimabile donum, which encouraged remaining in prayer.
The faithful are to be recommended not to omit to make a proper thanksgiving after Communion. They may do this during the celebration with a period of silence, with a hymn, psalm or other song of praise, or also after the celebration, if possible by staying behind to pray for a suitable time.Inaestimabile donum, 17
How long should you stay in prayer?
There is no “official” amount of time to remain in prayer. Saints throughout the centuries have recommended a variety of options.
St. Josemaria Escriva wrote, “If our thanksgiving were in proportion to the difference between the gift and our deserts, should we not turn the whole day into a continuous Eucharist, a continuous thanksgiving? Do not leave the church almost immediately after receiving the Sacrament. Surely you have nothing so important on that you cannot give Our Lord 10 minutes to say thanks. Love is repaid with love.”
St. Peter Julian Eymard had a similar suggestion, “The most solemn moments of your life are those you spend in thanksgiving, when the King of heaven and earth, your Savior and your Judge, is yours, fully inclined to grant all you ask of Him. Devote half an hour, if possible, to this thanksgiving or, at the very least, 15 minutes. Rather than abridge your thanksgiving, it would be better, if necessary, to shorten your preparation instead; for there is no more holy, no more salutary moment for you than when you possess Jesus in your body and in your soul.”
Other saints spent a full hour after Holy Communion, savoring every minute spent with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
However much time you spend in prayer, give thanks to God for his presence in the Eucharist and let his love wash over your soul.