Our friends from Connacht had a lot of little prayers in the old days to help their “actual participation” in the Mass and focus their minds on God. There were prayers you could say when you spotted a church (just as many people cross themselves today). There were prayers you could say when you entered a church and first knelt down:
I place myself at the edge of Thy grace,
On the floor of Thy House myself I place,
In the Catholic Temple I bow to pray,
And banish the sin of my heart away,
I lower my knee to my King this day.
I lower my knee unto God most high,
To the blessed Three of the Trinity.
From the armies of pain may They bring me whole,
And the blessed Trinity take my soul.
Martyr of pain,
Thou wast offered, an offering,
Slain with the slain,
Despised and rejected,
A mock among men.
May my soul be protected
From sin and from stain.
Each sin I have sinned
From the day of my fall,
May the One Son of Mary
Forgive me them all !
May the child who was tortured,
God-Man without stain,
Guide us safe through the torments
And shoutings of pain.
More prayers of mental preparation before or during Mass:
O King of the Friday
Whose limbs were stretched on the cross,
O Lord who didst suffer
The bruises, the wounds, the loss,
We stretch ourselves
Beneath the shield of Thy might.
May some fruit from the tree of Thy passion
Fall on us this night!
There are prayers to say when the priest raises the chalice during the Consecration:
The sacrament’s grace
Thou hast made and willed,
May my heart in its place
With that grace be filled.
Thou hast forgiven
Thousands of souls earned by thee,
Let not my soul
For its sin and its shame be spurned by thee.
There are prayers of mental greeting to the Real Presence of the Lord, after the Consecration:
A hundred thousand welcomes, thou Body of the Lord,
Thou Son of her the Virgin, the brightest, most adored,
Thy death in such fashion
On the tree of the Passion
Hath saved Eve’s race and put sin to death.
I am a poor sinner to thee appealing,
Reward me not as my sins may be;
Jesus Christ, I deserve Thy anger,
But turn again and show grace to me.
Jesus who bought us,
Jesus who taught us,
Jesus of the Rosary,
Do not forget us
Now nor in the hour of death.
O crucified Jesus, do not leave us,
Thou poured out Thy blood for us, O forgive us,
May the Grace of the Spirit forever be with us,
And whatever we ask, may the Son of God give us.
Here’s a prayer of thanks after Communion:
May His Body make me safer.
Holy Wafer, deep my sigh,
Cleanse me from the stains that stain me,
Nor disdain me when I die.
Lord who enterest my members,
Like the embers Thou dost shine,
Take my soul from out my bosom,
Cleanse from stain and make it Thine.
Great Creator, Lord of Graces,
Thou whose face is as the sun,
Grand artificer of heaven,
Make my will and Thine be one.
Creator, show me mercy,
Thou whose face is as the sun,
And the body where thou lodgest
Take to Thee when all is done.
Here’s a prayer to say on leaving church:
Farewell to thee, House of God,
May not thy blessings wither,
And may God’s grace not part from us
Till we again come hither.
Here’s a morning offering you may have seen before:
The will of God be done by us,
The law of God be kept by us,
Our evil will controlled by us,
Our tongue in check be held by us,
Repentance timely made by us,
Christ’s passion understood by us,
Each sinful crime be shunned by us,
Much on the End be mused by us,
And Death be blessed found by us.
With Angels’ music heard by us,
And God’s high praises sung to us
For ever and for aye.
Awaken there, the morn is fair,
The birds sing free.
Now dawns the day, awake and pray
And bend the knee,
The Lamb who lay beneath the clay
Was slain for thee.
UPDATE: I never said where I got all these. They are from The Religious Songs of Connacht (Abhrain Diadha chuige Connacht), collected and translated by Douglas Hyde. London and Dublin: 1906. There’s Volume I and Volume II.