With public Masses being suspended in the diocese, you may have heard the instruction to still make a “Spiritual Communion” especially on Sundays and other Holy Days. The term “spiritual Communion” is used to distinguish it from “sacramental Communion” – which is physically receiving the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist. When we cannot receive physically, we should still desire to receive spiritually.
There are many reasons that a Catholic might not be able to receive sacramental Communion. The most common reasons are non-Catholic Christians, Catholic who are aware of serious, unconfessed sin, the absence of a priest in an area, or those home bound or concerned about illness. Though we might (and should) desire the sacrament, there are times when we recognize it is not possible or not beneficial for us to receive it.
I think it is important to remember that Communion is not just something personal we receive. It is also a true communion with God and with the Church – the Body of Christ. If my receiving of Holy Communion would put others at serious risk of harm (either physical or spiritual), then it is likely better to refrain from receiving sacramentally and instead receive spiritually. It is also possible that receiving selfishly, without considering others, damages the communion we are called to share and, in the end, would not benefit the individual either.
May the Spiritual Communions we make during these challenging times help us to prayer ever more deeply for the community. May we grow in love of God and others as we conclude our Lenten Season and prepare for the Resurrection and new life of grace through Christ in the Easter Season to come.
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.