When Catholics who may be impeded from attending Mass and receiving Communion, due to illness, or other reasons, the Catholic tradition of praying a spiritual communion is highly recommended. Here’s a popular form for offering an act of spiritual communion.
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.
The words above are long attributed to St. Alphonsus Liguori. While St. Alphonsus lived in the 1700s, the offering of a spiritual communion had been the practice of saints and saints-in-the-making long before that time.
More contemporary recommendations for this kind of prayer come from recent popes. St. John Paul II wrote in his encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia (2003) the following:
“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. St. Teresa of Jesus wrote: ‘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.’” (EE, 34)
Pope Benedict XVI in the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis (2005) also clearly recommended it:
“Even in cases where it is not possible to receive sacramental communion, participation at Mass remains necessary, important, meaningful and fruitful. In such circumstances it is beneficial to cultivate a desire for full union with Christ through the practice of spiritual communion, praised by Pope John Paul II and recommended by saints who were masters of the spiritual life.” (SC, 55)
A person need not be in dire circumstance or deprived of Holy Communion in some way to make an act of spiritual communion. One can make one each day, or several times a day. It is a loving gesture and disposition of a heart devoted to Christ.
Posted by the editor.
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