Spiritual Communion

Bernini's Holy Spirit at Saint Peter's Basilica

Bernini’s Holy Spirit at Saint Peter’s Basilica, Rome, Italy, 2011

“While they were eating, Jesus took the bread, and when He had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.”  Matthew 26:26

Spiritual Communion, as defined by Saint Thomas Aquinas, is “the ardent desire to receive Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament (in Communion at Mass) and in lovingly embracing Him as if we had actually received Him.”

A Spiritual Communion is made in one’s mind.  It is a beautiful and powerful tool in our spiritual arsenal, allowing us to intimately commune with Jesus in a way, second only to actually receiving Him in the Eucharist at Mass.  St. Thomas Aquinas also says that a soul who sincerely makes a Spiritual Communion may experience the same effects within as when it receives the sacrament of the Eucharist at Mass.  In fact, Aquinas says, at times, it may even produce greater effects, greater grace in the soul, because the soul brings to it a better disposition.  It would be easy to understand how, when alone, the soul would be free of distractions, and capable of deeper and total humility.

Spiritual Communion is something I employ daily in my prayer routine.  It can be done anywhere, anytime, and as often as one feels capable of honestly, sincerely making it.  I am sharing here two simple prayers to facilitate the making of a Spiritual Communion. One is from my prayer book, “Blessed Be God.”  The other is from a pamphlet about Spiritual Communion.  I usually combine these two prayers, saying one following the other.  I then spend time in humble prayer asking forgiveness for my sins, thanking for blessings, and offering up special intentions.

First pray, “My Jesus, I believe that Thou are truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament.  I love Thee above all things and I desire to possess Thee within my soul.  Since I am unable now to receive Thee sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart.  I embrace Thee as being already there, and unite myself wholly to Thee; never, never permit me to be separated from Thee.  Jesus, my sweet love, wound, inflame this heart of mine, so that it may be always and all on fire for Thee.”

Then I also pray, “O Jesus I turn toward the holy tabernacle where You live hidden for love of me.  I love You, O My God.  I cannot receive you in Holy Communion.  Come nevertheless and visit me with Your grace.  Come spiritually into my heart.  Purify it.  Sanctify it.  Render it like unto Your own.  Amen.”

And then repeat from Matthew 8:6, “Lord, I am not worthy that thou should enter under my roof, but only say the word, and my soul shall be healed.”

     After one or both of these beautiful prayers, spend some time in prayful  humility, thanksgiving, and offering of special intentions.  Spiritual Communion is a very intimate way to express our love to Jesus, and a very powerful way to start the day!  As we approach Lent, it would also be a beautiful addition to a Lenten prayer routine in a desire to grow in our relationship with Jesus

 Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto thine.

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About Martha

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