Spiritual Communion is the reserve of Eucharistic Life and Love always available for lovers of the Eucharistic Jesus. By means of Spiritual Communion the loving desires are satisfied of the soul that wants to be united with Jesus, its dear Bridegroom. Spiritual Communion is a union of love between the soul and Jesus in the Host. This union is spiritual but none-the-less real, more real than the union between the soul and the body, "because the soul lives more where it loves than where it lives," says St. John of the Cross.
Faith, Love and Desire
As is evident, Spiritual Communion assumes that we have faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Tabernacle. It implies that we would like Sacramental Communion, and it demands a gratitude for Jesus' gift of this Sacrament. All this is expressed simply and briefly in the formula of St. Alphonsus:
"My Jesus, I believe that You are really present in the most Blessed Sacrament. I love Thee above all things, and I desire to possess Thee within my soul. Since I cannot now receive Thee sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. --- (pause) I embrace Thee as being already there and unite myself wholly to Thee. Never, never permit me to be separated from Thee. Amen."
Spiritual Communion, as St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Alphonsus Liguori teach, produces effects similar to Sacramental Communion, according to the dispositions with which it is made, the greater or less earnestness with which Jesus is desired, and the greater or less love with which Jesus is welcomed and given due attention.
A special advantage of Spiritual Communion is that we can make it as often as we like --- even hundreds of times a day --- when we like --- even late at night --- and wherever we like --- even in a desert, or up in an airplane.
It is fitting to make a Spiritual Communion especially when we are attending Holy Mass and cannot receive Our Lord sacramentally. While the priest is receiving his Holy Communion, our soul should share in it by inviting Jesus into our heart. In this way every Holy Mass we hear is a complete one, with the Offertory, the sacrificial Consecration, and Holy Communion.
The Two Chalices
Jesus Himself told St. Catherine of Siena in a vision how precious a Spiritual Communion is. The Saint was afraid that a Spiritual Communion was nothing compared to a Sacramental Communion. In the vision, Our Lord held up two ciboriums, and said, "In this golden ciborium I put your Sacramental Communions. In this silver ciborium 1 put your Spiritual Communions. Both ciboriums are quite pleasing to Me."
And once Jesus said to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, when she was absorbed in addressing yearning sighs to Him in the tabernacle, "I love so much a soul's desire to receive Me, that I hasten to it each time it summons Me by its yearnings."
It is not hard to see how much Spiritual Communion has been loved by the Saints. Spiritual Communion at least partly satisfied that ardent desire to be united to their Beloved. Jesus Himself said, "Abide in Me and I in you" (John 15:4). And Spiritual Communion helps us stay united to Jesus, even when we are far from a Church. There was no other way to appease the fond yearning that burned in the hearts of the Saints. "O God, my whole soul longs for You. As a deer for running water, my whole soul thirsts for God" (Ps. 41:2).
This is the loving sigh of the Saints. St. Catherine of Genoa exclaimed, "O dear Spouse (of my soul), I so strongly crave the joy of being with Thee, that it seems to me that if I were dead, I would come to life in order to receive Thee in Holy Communion." Blessed Agatha of the Cross felt such an acute yearning to live always united to Jesus in the Eucharist, that she remarked, "If the Confessor had not taught me to make Spiritual Communion, I could not have lived."
For St. Mary Frances of the Five Wounds, likewise, Spiritual Communion was the only relief from the acute pain she felt when shut up at home far from her beloved Lord, especially when she was not allowed to receive Sacramental Communion. At such a time she went out on the terrace of her home and, looking at the Church, she tearfully sighed, "Happy are they who have received Thee today in the Blessed Sacrament, O Jesus. Blessed are the walls of the Church that guard my Jesus. Blessed are the priests, who are always near the most lovable Jesus." Spiritual Communion alone was able to satisfy her a little.
(C) Fr. Stephano Manelli, 1973, Naple, Italy: www.catholictradition.org/Eucharist/most-blessed9.htm
The Thomas Merton Prayer
My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though
I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
A Prayer to Mary during the month of May, from Pope Francis
We fly to your protection, O Holy Mother of God
In the present tragic situation, when the whole world is prey to suffering and anxiety, we fly to you, Mother of God and our Mother, and seek refuge under your protection.
Virgin Mary, turn your merciful eyes towards us amid this coronavirus pandemic. Comfort those who are distraught and mourn their loved ones who have died, and at times are buried in a way that grieves them deeply. Be close to those who are concerned for their loved ones who are sick and who, in order to prevent the spread of the disease, cannot be close to them. Fill with hope those who are troubled by the uncertainty of the future and the consequences for the economy and employment.
Mother of God and our Mother, pray for us to God, the Father of mercies, that this great suffering may end and that hope and peace may dawn anew. Plead with your divine Son, as you did at Cana, so that the families of the sick and the victims be comforted, and their hearts be opened to confidence and trust.
Protect those doctors, nurses, health workers and volunteers who are on the frontline of this emergency, and are risking their lives to save others. Support their heroic effort and grant them strength, generosity and continued health.
Be close to those who assist the sick night and day, and to priests who, in their pastoral concern and fidelity to the Gospel, are trying to help and support everyone.
Blessed Virgin, illumine the minds of men and women engaged in scientific research, that they may find effective solutions to overcome this virus.
Support national leaders, that with wisdom, solicitude and generosity they may come to the aid of those lacking the basic necessities of life and may devise social and economic solutions inspired by farsightedness and solidarity.
Mary Most Holy, stir our consciences, so that the enormous funds invested in developing and stockpiling arms will instead be spent on promoting effective research on how to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.
Beloved Mother, help us realize that we are all members of one great family and to recognize the bond that unites us, so that, in a spirit of fraternity and solidarity, we can help to alleviate countless situations of poverty and need. Make us strong in faith, persevering in service, constant in prayer.
Mary, Consolation of the afflicted, embrace all your children in distress and pray that God will stretch out his all-powerful hand and free us from this terrible pandemic, so that life can serenely resume its normal course.
To you, who shine on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope, do we entrust ourselves, O Clement, O Loving, O Sweet Virgin Mary. Amen.
Renewal of the Consecration of the USA to the Blessed Virgin Mary
May 1st, 2020 - In this difficult time we turn to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church and Queen of Peace, to ask that she intercede with her Son for all those who are affected in any way by this pandemic. As we renew the consecration of our country and of ourselves to the Mother of God, we implore her maternal care for her children.
We invite you to join in these prayers, being offered on behalf of the entire country by the Most Reverend Jose J Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Use this text to pray, read the Scripture passages, and lead the decade of the Rosary:
Every Monday at Noon: City-Wide Moment of Prayer
As a means of sustaining the hope and joy during the challenging days we're in, we are invited, on behalf of the Baltimore Interfaith Coalition, to a weekly city-wide moment of prayer each Monday at noon.
This weekly gathering in spirit invites everyone in their own way to pause briefly at the same time to remember the presence of God and ask for His blessing on our City. To mark the moment of prayer, we also invite you to share your participation via social media using the hashtag #BaltimorePrays.
The Rosary for the End of the Coronavirus
To pray the Rosary, begin with:
- Sign of the Cross & the Apostle's Creed
- The Our Father
- Three Hail Mary's
- The Glory Be
- Then the following Decades, with 10 Hail Mary's each:
1st Decade: For the protection of the first responders, doctors, and nurses who care for those made critically ill by coronavirus. For wisdom and guidance on those scientists, researchers, and those seeking vaccines and rapid testing platforms. Our Lady, Help of Christians, intercede for us.
2nd Decade: For a full and speedy recovery for those suffering from the coronavirus. For protection of their family members and all those who are at risk of getting or transmitting the virus. Our Lady, Help of Christians, pray for us.
3rd Decade: For God's abundant mercy on the souls of those who have died from coronavirus. For strength and consolation for their grieving families. Our Lady, Help of Christians, intercede for us.
4th Decade: For protection on those who are most vulnerable to coronavirus: the elderly, those with compromised immune systems, those who have been traveling abroad, those who are in quarantine. Our Lady, Help of Christians, intercede for us.
5th Decade: For an expedient halt to the spread of the virus. For churches and schools to be reopened, and for the people to be able to return to their normal daily activities with a deepened faith and love for God. Our Lady, Help of Christians, intercede for us.
Pope Francis' prayer to our Lady to end the pandemic:
"O Mary, you always shine on our path as a sign of salvation and of hope. We entrust ourselves to you, Health of all the sick, who at the cross took part in Jesus' Pain, keeping your faith firm, You, Salvation of the Roman People, know what we need, and we are sure you will provide so that as in Cana, of Galilee, we may return to joy and to feasting after this time of trial. Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform to the will of the Father and to do as we are told by Jesus, who has taken upon himself our sufferings and carried our sorrows to lead us to the cross, to the joy of the resurrection. Amen.
Under your protection, we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God. Do not disdain the entreaties of we who are in trial, but deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.
Our Lady, Help of Christians, pray for us.
Stations of the Cross
Find two versions of the Way of the Cross written specifically for this time of pandemic.
National Moment of Prayer - Good Friday at Noon
Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has invited the faithful to join him in a moment of prayer on Good Friday (April 10) to pray the Litany of the Sacred Heart. Praying together as a nation, the archbishop asks that we seek healing for all who are unwell, wisdom for those whose work is halting the spread of coronavirus, and strength for all God’s children.
A Prayer for God to be Glorified
It’s Your name that is honored from generation to generation. You alone are worthy of all glory and praise.
And You are not shocked by the state of the world right now. Your ways are not our ways, and You are not at a loss about what to do. Nothing is impossible for You.
So today, we are proclaiming that You will be glorified through this pandemic. That Your name will be known and praised throughout the earth.
Pierce the darkness with Your light. Shine brighter than the fear of death, economic ruin, or a long quarantine.
When we look back on this moment in history, would we be filled with joy as we remember the revival, hope, and peace that came out of this season.
Continue to draw this hurting world back to You.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
And the People Stayed Home: A Poem by Kitty O'Meara
Written by Kitty O'Meara after the potato famine in Ireland in 1860.
And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply.
Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows.
And the people began to think differently. And the people healed.
And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.
Prayer for a Pandemic
May we who are merely inconvenienced - remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors - remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home - remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close - remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips - remember those that have no place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market - remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home - remember those who have no home.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors.
Prayer to the Virgin Mary for Protection
O Mary, you shine continuously on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick.
At the foot of the Cross you participated in Jesus’ pain,
with steadfast faith.
O loving Mother, you know what we need.
We are certain that you will provide, so that,
as you did at Cana of Galilee,
joy and feasting might return after this moment of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform ourselves to the Father’s will
and to do what Jesus tells us:
He who took our sufferings upon Himself, and bore our sorrows to bring us,
through the Cross, to the joy of the Resurrection. Amen.
We seek refuge under your protection, O Holy Mother of God.
Do not despise our pleas – we who are put to the test – and deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.