Sometimes we are not able to be at Church to receive Holy Communion. There may be very good reasons for this. We may be travelling, ill, weather conditions may prevent us, or we may have another good reason for being unable to be there.
Within the practice of the Christian church is the sometimes overlooked ‘Spiritual Communion.’ Of course presence at Mass is a priority, for ourselves and in order for us to encourage others and to worship God together. For Christians unable to be present at Mass, because of their circumstances (infirmity, locality, unavailability of worship…) Spiritual Communion is encouraged.
Spiritual Communion is a straightforward devotional practice for anyone. If you cannot physically be present at Mass you can pause, be still, and in imagination and prayer focus on the Mass and express ‘ardent desire’ to receive communion. It is good to take a little time doing this and the time could well include Bible reading (perhaps a Gospel reading), prayer and the Lord’s Prayer.
St Alphonsus Ligouri suggested this prayer be used at Spiritual Communion:
- My Jesus, I believe that you are in the Blessed Sacrament. I love you above all things, and I long for you in my soul. Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As though you have already come, I embrace you and unite myself entirely to you; never permit me to be separated from you. Amen.
St Teresa of Avila wrote that when you cannot be present at 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” And that great Patron Saint of Parish Priests, St Jean-Marie Vianney wrote “There are some who make a spiritual communion every day with blessed bread. If we are deprived of Sacramental Communion, let us replace it, as far as we can, by spiritual communion.
This, from a Roman Catholic website, is a helpful summary to making a Spiritual Communion: