This will be a Lent we all remember, I am sure. In the midst of the growing spread of COVID-19, all the Masses have been suspended in our Archdiocese. For many of us, Sunday Mass is a staple of our week and our spiritual life. This is an opportunity and a challenge to us to live Sunday as something different, as something holy. When it is not possible for us to participate at Mass, how can we still keep holy the Lord’s Day?
The Catholic Church encourages the faithful to make frequent, even daily, Communion. But when we cannot make it, however, we can still make an Act of Spiritual Communion, in which we express our faith in Christ and in His Presence in the Eucharist, and we ask Him to unite Himself with us. The basic elements of an Act of Spiritual Communion are an Act of Faith; an Act of Love; a desire to receive Christ; and an invitation to Him to come into our heart.
The most common occasion for making an Act of Spiritual Communion is when we cannot fulfil our obligation to attend Mass on a Sunday or Holy Day of Obligation, whether because of illness or bad weather, or some other reason outside of our control. It is also good to make an Act of Spiritual Communion when we can attend Mass, but not able to receive sacramental Communion.
However, always take a minute or so to make an Act of Spiritual Communion. We can even do so multiple times a day—even on days when we have been able to receive the Eucharist. Why would we do that? Because each Act of Spiritual Communion increases our desire to receive sacramental Communion, and also helps us to avoid the sins that would make us unable to receive Communion worthily.
How to make an Act of Spiritual Communion?
1. Make the sign of the Cross
2. If possible, read the Mass Readings
3. Recite the Prayer 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 these times of trial, let us pray that our faith may hold firm and our commitment to one another be strengthened. During this time, being a caring community is really important. We continue to pray for all people throughout the world - the many people- who are suffering due to the Coronavirus pandemic. We pray for those who have died, that the Lord receives them into His care.
Fr. Dantus Thottathil.