From the Desk of Father Nathan

St Gabriel Catholic Church | Pompano Beach
God Bless You All

Father Nathan St Gabriel | Understanding Spiritual Communion

A Message from Father Nathan

My dearest people who are close to my heart!

We had a meeting of a few representatives of our parish on Monday to plan for the reopening of the church.  In the meeting, one or two requested me to catechize on the spirituality of SPIRITUAL COMMUNION, when and where we cannot receive communion in person due to various circumstances.  Here are my few thoughts…
 

What’s the Eucharist?

 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1324-1327), states, I take pride in quoting it all the time. Each and every word has to be underlined. Every word accentuates the importance of the Eucharist:  

 

“The Eucharist is ‘the source and summit’

of the Christian life.  The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.”

Again, it’s “The Eucharist is the efficacious sign and sublime cause of that communion in the divine life and that unity of the People of God by which the Church is kept in being.  It is the culmination both of God’s action sanctifying the world in Christ and of the worship, men offer to Christ and through Him to the Father in the Holy Spirit.

 

“Finally, by the Eucharistic celebration, we already unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life, when God will be all in all.  In brief, the Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith:  Our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist, in turn, confirms our way of thinking.”

Now, what’s spiritual communion?

It’s a practice; one offers a prayer that indicates their desire to be in union with Christ through the Eucharist. This kind of prayer can be offered every day, even multiple times per day. Spiritual communion usually entails an acknowledgment of Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist, a longing to receive Him sacramentally, and a recognition that this desire can offer spiritual nourishment.

St. Thomas Aquinas described it as 

“an ardent desire to receive Jesus in the most holy sacrament and lovingly embrace Him” 

at a time or in circumstances when we cannot receive Him in sacramental Communion.  The Catechism of the Council of Trent devoted a special section to spiritual communion in its program of renewal in the late 16th century. In the past, instruction manuals gave as the most familiar situation, the need of a mother to stay home from Sunday Mass to care for a sick child, thereby missing the opportunity for Communion.

Saint John Paul II said, I quote,

“Spiritual Communion is a Christian practice of desiring union with Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.  It is used as a preparation for Holy Mass and by individuals who cannot receive Holy Communion. This practice is well established in the Catholic Church and highly recommended by many saints.”

“Spiritual Communion” is a means of drawing close to Jesus even when we cannot receive the Eucharist, and has deep roots in the Church.  Though it is not well known among Catholics, it formed part of the devotions of many saints who prayed for the grace of spiritual nourishment, even when they could not receive His presence in the sacrament.

Most practicing Catholics are frequent to Communion, some on a daily, weekly, and few a monthly basis.  Of course Communion has to be received in a worthy manner and maybe through the reception of the sacrament of reconciliation.  But in the history of the Church, there were many times in which frequent Communion was not possible, sometimes for months at a time.  The reasons were many:  war, plague, lack of religious freedom, or a shortage of priests.  In other cases, individual circumstances prevented reception, including health, lack of transportation, or the need to care for a sick family member.  The reasons are unending … Though this separation from the Eucharist can be disheartening, it can increase one’s desire to receive Jesus sacramentally.

Spiritual Communion needs no special instruction; it only requires the same disposition as the actual reception of the sacrament and a turning to Jesus with the heart.

It’s a yearning, craving, and longing for Jesus in the Eucharist to come and dwell inside of one’s heart.  It’s the longing of heart, to the heart of Jesus.  Finally, the popular prayer composed by St. Alphonsus Liguori would help us better:

“My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the Blessed Sacrament.

I love you above all things and I desire you with all my heart.

Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally,

I ask you to come spiritually into my heart.

I embrace you as if you were already in my heart

and unite myself to you completely.

Please do not let me ever by separated from you.  Amen.”

May God Bless You All.
Please Stay Safe and healthy!
Ever at your service.
– With lots of love and blessing,

 

—Fr. Sahayanathan Nathan

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Past Messages from Father Nathan

From The Desk Of Father Nathan | August 16, 2020

From The Desk Of Father Nathan | August 16, 2020

Prayerful greetings to you. We celebrate the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 15th. Since it falls on Saturday this year, it is NOT a holy day of obligation, or else it is. The Feast of The Assumption is one of the most important feasts of our Lady.

read more
From The Desk Of Father Nathan | August 9, 2020

From The Desk Of Father Nathan | August 9, 2020

Prayerful greetings to you. We celebrate the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 15th. Since it falls on Saturday this year, it is NOT a holy day of obligation, or else it is. The Feast of The Assumption is one of the most important feasts of our Lady.

read more