With the COVID-19 global pandemic sweeping across the world, and as our country, Nigeria records more cases, concerns are growing and frantic efforts are being made by government and religious leaders to curb the spread. One of such measures is the suspension of religious gatherings, which means churches will remain empty of worshippers for the time being.
This comes as a great source of concern and worry for devout Catholics who are feeling perturbed by the thought of missing Mass and reception of the Holy Eucharist for an indefinite period of time. To such brothers and sisters, I say, do not lose faith, but first try to stay alive and safe, for the dead cannot worship God (cf. Isaiah 38:18). In such extreme times as we are in now, the church has provided for us, the consolation of an Act of Spiritual Communion.
WHAT IS AND ACT OF SPIRITUAL COMMUNION?
St. Thomas Aquinas once defined a Spiritual Communion as “an ardent desire to receive Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament [in Communion at Mass] and in lovingly embracing Him as if we had actually received Him.”
The Spiritual Communion is a practice by which Catholics who, for reasons beyond them, are unable to receive Holy Communion at Mass at a particular time, unite themselves in faith with the Eucharistic Jesus. While it does not take the place of actually receiving the Eucharistic specie(s) sacramentally, it does unite the faith of the one making it with the whole church and brings the presence of Jesus closer to the person.
Also, for those times you can’t make Mass, or can’t take Communion because of an unconfessed mortal sin (for which you can ask for and receive God’s forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance), you can still reach out to Him by making a Spiritual Communion in prayer!
WHERE AND WHEN CAN I MAKE AN ACT OF SPIRITUAL COMMUNION?
You can do this in a Church, a Chapel of Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament or anywhere you find yourself. It can also be done at anytime.
HOW TO MAKE AN ACT OF SPIRITUAL COMMUNION
- Make the sign of the Cross
- Do a brief examination of conscience and then pray the Confiteor (I confess to Almighty God…)
- Read and meditate on the readings of Mass for the day.
- Say the following prayer: Oh Jesus, I turn toward the holy tabernacle where You live hidden for love of me. I love you, O my God. I cannot receive you in Holy Communion. Come, nevertheless, and visit me with Your grace. Come spiritually into my heart. Purify it. Sanctify it. Render it like unto Your own. Amen.
My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment 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. Amen.
Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.
5. Say a prayer of thanksgiving. You can use the prayer, “O Sacrament Most Holy…”
6. Conclude with the sign of the Cross.