Spiritual communion is the desire to be united with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist as a Christian. It is used to prepare for Mass and by those who are unable to receive Holy Communion.
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According to Pope John Paul II, this practice is well-established in Lutheran, Anglican, and Methodist churches, as well as in the Catholic Church, where it has been strongly advocated by numerous saints. He said that the ultimate perfection of Eucharistic communion, which is the ultimate objective of every human desire, is anchored in living this persistent longing for Jesus in the Eucharist.
Spiritual communion has long been practiced by Christians in times of persecution, such as during the Eastern Bloc's era of state atheism, and in times of plagues, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, when many Christians are unable to attend Mass and thus unable to receive the Eucharist on the Lord's Day.
Is spiritual communion for everyone?
I received a valuable lesson many years ago “St. Josemara Escrivá learned the prayer “spiritual communion” from his mother's confessor when he was a child. This is how it goes: “I wish to accept you, my Lord, with the same purity, humility, and devotion with which your most Holy Mother received you, and with the zeal and fervor with which the saints received you.” That prayer is now prayed by millions of people all around the world.
A spiritual communion is a personal devotional that anybody can pray at any time to indicate their desire to receive holy Communion at that particular time, but in which circumstances prevent them from doing so. There could be a variety of impeding circumstances: the person could already be “The person may be “maxed out” because they have already received holy Communion twice that day; or the person may be in prison and unable to attend Mass; or the person may be elderly and at home watching or listening to Mass on television or radio; or the person may be hiking a mountain and wishes to be more deeply united to Jesus Christ at that time.
There is no such thing as a perfect solution “spiritual communion is “formal.” Everyone can write their own or borrow a prayer written by someone else.
Your soul gets grace to the extent that you have authentic hunger for the holy Eucharist when you pray a spiritual communion.
Do I need to fast before spiritual communion?
In the aftermath of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, Catholics around the world are suffering an unanticipated and unpleasant fast from the Eucharist. Many people's inability to receive holy Communion has become an unthinkable Lenten penance in many ways.
In recent days, archbishops and bishops in the United States, as well as in other countries around the world, have suspended public celebrations of holy Mass or granted dispensations from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass, all in the hopes of preventing the spread of the virus through “social distancing.”
How are Catholics supposed to make sense of the lack of public worship or acceptance of our Lord's body, blood, soul, and divinity? It might be most beneficial to take a quick glance at other people's situations, as well as ordinary Catholic practice, and then decide how to make the best of the circumstance while continuing to grow in our connection with the Lord in the face of the current challenges.
Mass and Communion Obligations
First and foremost, it is important to distinguish between the responsibility to attend Sunday Mass and the reception of holy Communion. Not all Catholics, in reality, receive Holy Communion during Mass. Catholics, for example, are required to abstain from receiving holy Communion if they are in a state of grave sin. Failure to observe the eucharistic fast that is, abstaining from eating or drinking anything other than water for an hour before receiving the sacrament might also prevent Catholics from receiving Communion. Homebound Catholics should also be considered, as they are unable to receive the Eucharist as regularly as they would like. Other Catholics may live in remote areas, similar to Catholic pioneers in America or modern-day Amazon residents, where receiving the Eucharist is a prized rarity. There are also immigrant and imprisoned Catholics, as well as those suffering from the repercussions of war, and so on.
Can you receive the Eucharist spiritually?
Second, it's worth noting that frequent Holy Communion reception is a relatively new phenomenon, owing to Pope St. Pius X's support of the practice (pope from 1903-1914). For many centuries, regular Holy Communion receiving was anything but regular. Take, for example, St. Louis IX (1214-1270), the French monarch known for his holiness, who only received holy Communion six times a year which was thought to be common at the time. In truth, Catholics are only required to receive holy Communion once a year, and that is during the Easter season, which is sometimes referred to as our “Easter season.” “I'm on Easter duty.”
The fact that the Church requires Catholics to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation (roughly 60 days per year, give or take) while only requiring Catholics to receive holy Communion once a year, according to universal law, demonstrates that our obligation to attend Mass is not conditional on receiving holy Communion. At the same time, the Catholic Church's Catechism warns us not to minimize the importance of this “The faithful should receive Holy Communion every time they join in the Eucharistic celebration, according to the Church” (No. 1417).
An Act of the Whole Church
Because all those who have been baptized have been incorporated into Christ's body, every time Christ is offered to the Father in the Eucharist, the entire Church is mystically present and offered to the Father, “complete and entire,” as the Catechism puts it (No. 1368). This signifies that, despite the current lack of public meetings, the Mass is still being celebrated. Our priests will celebrate Mass in our absence, but will offer the eucharistic sacrifice for our benefit.
In every Mass, all members of the Church members of Christ's own body are united with him. As a result, as the Catechism explains, we are all offered to the Father as a sacrifice as a whole:
“In the Eucharist, Christ's sacrifice likewise becomes the sacrifice of his Body's members.” The faithful's lives, their praise, sufferings, prayer, and work, are connected with Christ's and his whole giving, and therefore take on new significance. The presence of Christ's sacrifice on the altar allows all generations of Christians to be linked with his gift” (No. 1368).
We can also take advantage of technology these days and attend Mass “virtually.” Many bishops and priests, including the Pope, are streaming their daily Masses live for the benefit of the faithful. This is a 21st-century version of what St. Charles Borromeo (1538-1584) did when, during his time as archbishop of Milan, he ordered the celebration of the Mass to be held outside so that people may observe from their homes during a plague outbreak.
Practicing Spiritual Communion
It's crucial to remember that, while we may be excused from attending Mass, we are never excused from obeying the Third Commandment to “keep holy the Sabbath.” Sunday will continue to be a day set apart for growing in communion with the Lord. When we are physically unable to attend Mass, we may consider “spiritual communion,” an act to which the saints have consistently testified.
Spiritual Communion is a traditional way of expressing our desire for the Lord to enter our hearts and our longing for him. “When you do not receive communion and do not attend Mass, you can make a spiritual communion, which is a really helpful practice; by it, the love of God will be deeply impressed on you,” said St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582).
“When we sense God's love growing chilly, let us immediately form a spiritual Communion,” stated St. Jean-Marie Vianney (1786-1859), a great country priest from Ars, France. Let us turn to the tabernacle when we can't get to the church; no wall can keep us from the good God.”
What is the best way for us to form a spiritual Communion? The French “apostle of the Eucharist,” St. Peter Julian Eymard (1811-1868), proposed the following format:
“If you do not receive (holy Communion) sacramentally, receive spiritually by conceiving a real desire to be united to Jesus Christ by acknowledging the need you have to love His life; arouse yourself to perfect contrition for all your sins, past and present, by considering God's infinite goodness and sanctity; receive Jesus Christ in spirit in your inmost soul, entreating Him to give you the grace to live entirely for Him, since you can live entirely for Him
While the Church does not prescribe a formula for performing an act of spiritual communion, the Church's vast library of devotions includes prayers penned by many saints. St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) wrote one of the most popular acts of spiritual communion:
“I believe you are present in the Most Blessed Sacrament, My Jesus.” I adore You above all else and long to welcome You into my heart. If I can't receive You sacramentally right now, please come into my heart spiritually. I embrace You as if You were already present, and I completely surrender myself to You. Allow me to never be apart from You. Amen.
Other Forms of Communion
Despite our desire for greater unity and communion with the Lord, we must be comforted by his words: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Mt 18: 20).
The Church is one body, unified in Christ, the Word come to life (see Jn 1:14). Reading the Scriptures helps us grow closer to the Lord; in fact, Christ nourishes us with his word, which the Second Vatican Council's Constitution on the Word of God (“Dei Verbum”) refers to as “food for the soul” (No. 21). “The Church has always honored the divine Scriptures in the same way that she venerates the Lord's body, because she always receives and offers to the faithful the bread of life from the table both of God's word and of Christ's body,” (“Dei Verbum,” No. 21).
We can strengthen our bonds by reading, studying, praying with, and debating the Scriptures when we are unable to attend Mass or receive holy Communion. Take a look at the Lectionary's daily readings. Pray with the word of God using the meditative, introspective “lectio divina” approach. Encounter the Lord through the Liturgy of the Hours, which, according to the Catechism, “is like an extension of the Eucharistic celebration, does not exclude but rather brings forth the many devotions of the People of God, especially adoration and worship of the Blessed Sacrament” (No. 1178). There's also the holy rosary, which, according to Pope St. John Paul II (“Rosarium Virginis Mariae,” No. 2), places us “in live relationship with Jesus.”
Finally, keep in mind that going to Mass and receiving Holy Communion are also acts of worship. We are conformed to Christ more and more via our baptism and the reception of holy Communion. St. Augustine (354-430) penned the following: “It is your own mystery that is laid on the Lord's table if you are Christ's body and members! It's your own personal mystery that you're getting! You're responding with a ‘Amen' to what you're saying: your reaction is a personal signature, confirming your faith. ‘Amen,' you say when you hear ‘The body of Christ.' Become a member of Christ's body, then, so that your faith will be strengthened “Amen” could be said to be true!” (Sermon No. 272)
Our moral life, when properly structured, is also an act of worship, according to St. Paul. Indeed, we can worship and live in connection with Jesus via our lives. He declares, “By God's grace, I implore you, brothers, to give your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, as your spiritual worship” (Rom 12:1). St. Paul, as taught by Pope Benedict XVI, is buried here “The liturgy is described as “life.” We, our bodies; we, in our bodies and as a whole, must be liturgy. This is the New Testament's novelty, and we'll see it again later: Christ gives himself as a substitute for all other offerings. And he wants to ‘pull' us into his Body's communion. The true liturgy is that of our body, of our being in the Body of Christ, just as Christ himself made the liturgy of the world, the cosmic liturgy, which strives to draw all people to itself… the true liturgy is that of our body, of our being in the Body of Christ, just as Christ himself made the liturgy of the world, the cosmic liturgy, which strives to draw all people to itself.”
Who Cannot receive communion?
The Church has traditionally taught that a person who is aware of grave sin should not receive the Eucharist without first making a sacramental confession, because the Eucharist is a sign, symbol, and expression of relationship with God.
Grave sin, sometimes known as grave sin, is a type of transgression that occurs when a person “As a result, charity is lost, and sanctifying grace, that is, the state of grace, is denied. It leads to exclusion from Christ's kingdom and eternal death in hell if it is not redeemed by repentance and God's pardon, because “our freedom has the ability to make choices for ever, with no turning back,” according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
“Anyone who is aware of having committed a mortal sin must not receive Holy Communion without first receiving sacramental absolution, even if he feels great repentance,” the Catechism continues, “unless he has a severe reason for receiving Communion and there is no way to go to confession.”
In 1 Corinthians, St. Paul says that “Whoever eats the Lord's bread or drinks the Lord's cup in an unworthy manner will profane the Lord's body and blood. Allow a man to check himself before eating bread and drinking from the cup. Anyone who eats and drinks without considering his or her body is feeding and drinking judgment on oneself.”
Receiving the Eucharist in a condition of grave sin, according to St. Paul, is a sin in and of itself, since it disregards the holiness of the Eucharistic sacrament and the integrity of the Church's communion. The Church urges Catholics not to receive the Eucharist if they are in a condition of grave sin not to punish or shame them, but to safeguard Catholics from committing that sin, if it is a sin as Scripture claims.
Some academics believe Dante Alighieri includes an allusion to unworthy receiving of Holy Communion in the story of Count Ugolino, who is encased in ice in the ninth circle of hell and discovered by Dante eating the head of his opponent, an archbishop, in his poem Inferno.
Some scholars feel his account relates to the immoral eating of human flesh, which they believe is a reference to receiving the Eucharist unworthyly.
What are the words for spiritual communion?
I believe You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament, My Jesus. I adore You above all else, and I long to welcome You into my heart. Since I am unable to receive You sacramentally at this time, please enter my heart spiritually. I embrace You and attach myself completely to You, as if You were already here.
Is it a sin to eat before Communion?
A person receiving the Most Holy Eucharist must fast for at least one hour before receiving holy communion, with the exception of water and medicine.
How often should Catholics receive communion?
The church advises Catholics to receive Communion every time they attend Mass, and nearly half of all Catholics (43 percent) say they do. Overall, 77% of Catholics say they take Communion at least portion of the time when they go to Mass, while 17% say they never do.
What is an act of spiritual communion prayer?
The Catholic Church urges people to take Communion on a regular basis, even daily. Today, the Eucharist is normally received during Mass on a daily basis. (In the past, many parishes, particularly those in cities, dispensed the Eucharist before and after Mass to those who couldn't stay for the entire Mass.)
When we are unable to attend daily Mass, we can nevertheless participate in an Act of Spiritual Communion. This entails declaring our faith in Christ and His Eucharistic Presence, as well as asking Him to join Himself to us. An Act of Spiritual Communion consists of four essential elements: faith, love, a desire to receive Christ, and an invitation to Him to come into your heart.
Why do we receive Holy Communion?
Christians partake of Holy Communion in remembrance of Jesus' broken and spilled body and blood on the cross, according to the Bible.
Taking Holy Communion not only reminds us of Jesus' suffering, but it also demonstrates the depth of his love for us.
To share the blood and body of Jesus Christ, however, one must be born again. In other words, self-examination, repentance, and confession must have taken place.
Jesus gave his life for us in order for us to enjoy eternal life. As a result, when Christians receive Holy Communion, they proclaim the eternal life in heaven that Jesus Christ prepared for us by his death and resurrection for us to enjoy in the afterlife.
Believers also rejoice when they are reminded of Jesus' triumphant life and glory after his resurrection, as well as the depths to which he sank on earth to suffer as a sinner for our sins.
The Holy Communion also reminds us of the breadth of his arms as they spread out on the cross to embrace all of humanity.
We have no life until we eat his body and drink his blood, Jesus says in John 6:53-54.
“You have no life in you unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood,” I guarantee you.
In John 6:54-56, he adds that his body is food and that his blood is a drink. Whoever ate his flesh and drank his blood is bound to him, and he will be bound to us as well.
“Whoever eats and drinks my flesh and blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the end of time. For my flesh is actually food, and my blood is indeed drink. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood becomes a part of me, and I become a part of him.”
Christ lives in us and we in him as a result of receiving the spiritual body and blood. We also learn that we must receive Holy Communion because we can only have eternal life and will be resurrected on the last day if we have Christ's life in us.
According to Scripture, we unite with Jesus Christ during Holy Communion not just in commemoration of his death, but also in the spiritual life he provides us.
The bible also teaches us that Christ is present in the experience of receiving Holy Communion to greet and strengthen his people.