Making a Spiritual Communion
During this time of the Novel Corona virus, when Churches are closed and we are all missing the Eucharist very much, it is good to turn to a long standing tradition in the Church of Spiritual Communion. During these days we can experience the hunger for the Eucharist that our sisters and brothers experience around the world who do not have the frequent access to the Eucharist that many of us do.
Spiritual Communion comes from our recognizing that our Lord deeply desires to be with us, to be in communion with us. He invited us to this: “Remain in me, as I remain in you.” John 15:4 He is inviting us to make our home in him, as he makes his home in us.
Whenever we are unable to receive the Eucharist – his body, blood, soul and divinity really present in the Precious Body and Blood of Jesus we receive at Mass – we can turn to him personally and let ourselves be in communion with him, in our every day life.
It is all a matter of consciousness, preparation and an interior disposition. Jesus is always ready for our hearts. He is always ready to be close to us and to bless us with an encounter with him. And, it is nice to realize that, in this time of crisis, Jesus longs to be in communion with us as we are longing to be in communion with him.
How do we do it?
The easiest way to prepare to make or receive Spiritual Communion with Jesus is very similar to the way we prepare to receive Jesus in the Eucharist. In these times, we might participate in a Mass on TV (lives stream from our Cathedral), or with Pope Francis in his streamed morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta (at news.va).
If we can’t do any of those, we might want to read the readings of the day.
If we are unable to do either of those, we might just prepare ourselves in the ways we’d prepare for Communion at Mass. It begins with an act of contrition or sorrow for my sins and a firm purpose of amendment (a change of heart and resolve to not continue that behaviour or habit). It then moves to a desire, which we can put into words, telling our Lord how much we desire to receive him into our heart. We can tell him about our need for him at this time and of our gratitude for his desire to be with us. Finally, we can simply say what we say at Mass, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”
The heart of a Spiritual Communion is to rest there in that special moment of desire and openness, reception and gratitude. It is a moment to be with Jesus, as he is with me. There is no need for words in that moment. A soul says “Amen” at peace. Our hearts express their gratitude in quiet but deep emotion.
What are the benefits of making a Spiritual Communion?
Closeness with Jesus and all the graces that come with this kind of intimate encounter come with Spiritual Communion. At the very least, it protects me from all the distractions, fears, anxieties and temptations which can keep me away from putting my life in Jesus’ hands. At the very best, Spiritual Communion is the path to greater holiness and the virtues of courage and boldness that allow me to love others as selflessly as I have been loved.
May our Lord bless us with the graces of Spiritual Communion with him, as we long for the day when we can be together around his table to receive him in the Eucharist.
May the sick and those who care for them be protected and filled with faith and his love.
“May your mercy, LORD, be upon us; as we put our hope in you.” Psalm 33:22
An Act of Spiritual Communion by
St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787):
My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the most Blessed Sacrament.
I love You above all things and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there, and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.