Pope Francis, bishops are encouraging faithful who are not able to attend Mass to desire a union with Jesus in the Holy Eucharist
By FAITH Catholic
After the Angelus prayer on March 3, Pope Francis invited the faithful “to rediscover and deepen the value of the Communion that unites all the members of the Church. United to Christ we are never alone, but we form one single Body, of which He is the Head.”
Pope Francis encouraged those unable to attend Church to pray for spiritual Communion, “a practice that is highly recommended when it is not possible to receive the sacrament.” Archbishops and bishops in the United States join the pope in inviting the faithful to this practice.
In his encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, Pope John Paul II explained how the essential role of the Eucharist in uniting us to Christ led to the practice of “spiritual Communion.”
In the Eucharist, “unlike any other sacrament, the mystery [of Communion] is so perfect that it brings us to the heights of every good thing: Here is the ultimate goal of every human desire, because here we attain God and God joins himself to us in the most perfect union.”
Precisely for this reason it is good to cultivate in our hearts a constant desire for the sacrament of the Eucharist. This was the origin of the practice of “spiritual Communion,” which has happily been established in the Church for centuries and recommended by saints who were masters of the spiritual life.
“When you do not receive communion and you do not attend Mass, you can make a spiritual communion, which is a most beneficial practice; by it the love of God will be greatly impressed on you.” — St. Teresa of Jesus [The Way of Perfection, Ch. 35.].
What is spiritual Communion?
Spiritual Communion is the practice of desiring union with Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. It is used primarily by individuals who cannot receive holy Communion, such as the ill, the divorced and remarried, and those who have not yet been received into full communion with the Church. St. Thomas Aquinas described it as “an ardent desire to receive Jesus in the most holy sacrament and lovingly embrace him” at a time or in circumstances when we cannot receive him in sacramental Communion.
Act of Spiritual Communion
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.
In addition to St. Teresa of Jesus, other saints have encouraged spiritual Communion:
“Communion is to the soul like blowing a fire that is beginning to go out, but that still has plenty of hot embers; we blow, and the fire burns again.
After the reception of the Sacraments, when we feel ourselves slacken in the love of God, let us have recourse at once to spiritual communion. When we cannot go to the church, let us turn towards the tabernacle; no wall cannot separate us from the good God.” — St. John Vianney
“Spiritual Communion is “an ardent desire to receive Jesus in the Holy Sacrament and a loving embrace as though we had already received Him.” — St. Thomas Aquinas
“What a source of grace there is in spiritual Communion! Practice it frequently and you’ll have more presence of God and closer union with Him in your life.” — St. Josemaría Escrivá