Disclaimer

NOTICE: I am a practicing Catholic, active and in good-standing with my local parish, who professes faith and loyalty to the Church. This ministry - my "little work" - is strictly a personal expression of that faith and loyalty, and not an officially recognized ministry in the Diocese of Honolulu.

~ Peter, Ministry & Blog Administrator


Thursday, November 26, 2015

On the great value of Spiritual Communions...


Happy Thanksgiving to all!  Today is an appropriate day to share this latest blog - it's about making a Spiritual [Holy] Communion.  The thought of writing a little about this topic had actually been rolling around in my head for a few months now... and since "Eucharist", the word we also use for Holy Communion, means "Thanksgiving" in Greek, I thought why not do it today... on Thanksgiving Day?  So I said a short prayer and started typing away on my laptop...

"Embracing" Jesus Through Spiritual Communion

So what exactly is a "Spiritual Communion"?  In short, it's a conscious and prayerful act of inviting the divine presence of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and His Sanctifying Grace into our souls when we are not able to receive Him, sacramentally, in the Consecrated Host (the Eucharist).

The renowned "Angelic Doctor", St. Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274), described a Spiritual Communion as, "...an ardent desire to receive Jesus in the most Holy Sacrament and lovingly embrace Him."; the illustrious St. John Marie Vianney (d. 1859) once said, "... [Spiritual] Communion is to the soul like blowing a fire that is beginning to go out, but has still plenty of hot embers; we blow, and the fire burns again."  And the wonderful thing about a Spiritual Communion is that we can make it any time during the day and, as many times during the day, as we feel inspired to do so.  This pious exercise is particularly potent during Eucharistic Adoration.


For me, I make Spiritual Communions whenever I need a spiritual and moral "boost": whenever I am feeling stressed and overwhelmed at work (I pray it right at my desk); whenever my spiritual "reservoir" is running low or feeling dry; or whenever I pop into any Catholic Church to make a visit with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.  I make it shortly before I depart from the church so that I take leave of the Lord with a deep sense of His abiding presence within me.  It never fails to bring me a measure of peace and refreshment; even a sense of empowerment, at times.

St. Catherine of Sienna's Vision

St. Catherine of Siena
I was first introduced to this pious practice many years ago after reading about a personal experience St. Catherine of Siena (d. 1380) had with Jesus. This Saint was a mystic and stigmaticwho reportedly made frequent Spiritual Communions, and once experienced doubts as to whether they were of any value to her soul in comparison to her Eucharistic Communions.  Our Lord immediately appeared to her holding a beautiful chalice in each of his hands - one was made of gold, the other of silver.  Jesus went on to explain to St. Catherine that he saved all her Sacramental Communions in the gold chalice, while the silver chalice held the Spiritual Communions that she made; BOTH chalices, Christ reassured her, were pleasing to him.

The above-anecdote so impressed me I never forgot it although it's been quite a while; hence, Spiritual Communions became a part of my own spiritual regimen, thanks to St. Catherine of Siena.

Other Saintly Souls on Spiritual Communion

Besides, the testimonies included above from St. Thomas Aquinas, St. John Vianney, and St. Catherine of Siena, there were other holy individuals who esteemed the value of Spiritual Communions... or received private revelations from our Lord about the efficacy of the practice.  Among them were the following:

+  St. Teresa (of Jesus) of Avila (d. 1582) once wrote:
   "When you do not receive communion and you do not attend 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."

+  St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (d. 1690) once heard Jesus say to her from 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."

+  St. Leonard of Port Maurice (d. 1751) once remarked:
   "If you practice the holy exercise of Spiritual Communion a good many times each day, within a month you will see yourself completely changed."

+  Sr. Benigna Consolata (d. 1916), a mystic-nun, once heard Jesus say to her:
   "Make as many Spiritual Communions as possible, to supply for the many Sacramental Communions which are not made. One every quarter of an hour is not enough. Make them shorter, but more numerous."

+  St. Josemaria Escriva (d. 1975) once advised:
   "What a source of grace there is in spiritual Communion! Practise it frequently and you'll have more presence of God and closer union with him in your life."

Other Saints who exercised the practice of Spiritual Communion and/or promoted it were St. Alphonsus Liguori (d. 1787), St. Padre Pio (d. 1968), and St. Pope John Paul II (d. 2005).  All good company.

Spiritual Communion Prayer

Now that we've [hopefully] established the value of a Spiritual Communion, how do we make one? There are many formal prayers available on the Internet (just google "Spiritual Communion Prayer")... but, personally, I believe the best prayers are the ones that come straight from the heart... so why not simply invite the Lord into your soul by expressing it in your own, heartfelt words?

My own Spiritual Communion Prayer goes something like this:

   "My Jesus, I believe You are truly present in the Eucharist.  As I cannot receive You, Sacramentally, at this present time, come to me in Spiritual Communion. Fill me with Your grace; cleanse me of my sin; bring me healing in soul and body; transform me into Yourself. I love You, Jesus, and I thank You.  Amen."

And... may I add that the Church has attached a Partial Indulgence (remittance of temporal punishment due to sin) of 300 days with every act of Spiritual Communion? More value for our souls! So why not get your hug with Jesus today?

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