Even though we’re all stuck at home and unable to partake in the fullness of the Mass, there are still ways we can get the most out of praying at home. Here are a few quick tips.
How to get the most out of Mass Online
In the weeks prior to Easter, preview the televised Masses offered to determine which may be most appropriate for your household.
Set up a space in your home for prayer/worship. Consider covering a table with a tablecloth or another nice cloth of the seasonal liturgical color. Place a Bible, a candle and a cross or crucifix on
Straighten the space, and arrange enough furniture for all.
Come prepared to attend the Mass. Have everyone go to the bathroom, get drinks, wash faces, etc.
Turn off and remove all devices that can distract from the space.
Remind everyone that this does not take the place of attending Mass but that everyone should attend to it prayerfully and make a spiritual communion.
Before the Mass begins, light the candle.
Catholics encouraged to practice Spiritual Communion during COVID-19 Epidemic
After the Angelus prayer on March 3, Pope Francis invited the faithful “to rediscover and deepen the value of the communion that unites all the members of the Church. United to Christ we are never alone, but we form one single Body, of which He is the Head.”
Pope Francis encouraged those unable to attend Church to pray for spiritual Communion, “a practice that is highly recommended when it is not possible to receive the Sacrament.” Archbishops and bishops in the U.S. join the pope in inviting the faithful to this practice.
In his encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, Pope John Paul II explained how the essential role of the Eucharist in uniting us to Christ led to the practice of “spiritual Communion”:
In the Eucharist, “unlike any other sacrament, the mystery [of communion] is so perfect that it brings us to the heights of every good thing: Here is the ultimate goal of every human desire, because here we attain God and God joins himself to us in the most perfect union.”
Precisely for this reason it is good to cultivate in our hearts a constant desire for the sacrament of the Eucharist. This was the origin of the practice of “spiritual Communion,” which has happily been established in the Church for centuries and recommended by saints who were masters of the spiritual life. St. Teresa of Jesus 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” (The Way of Perfection, Ch. 35).
What is Spiritual Communion?
Spiritual Communion is the practice of desiring union with Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. It is used primarily by individuals who cannot receive holy Communion, such as the ill, the divorced and remarried, and those who have not yet been received into full communion with the Church. 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.
Act of Spiritual Communion
I believe that you are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love you above all things, and I desire to receive you into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace you as if you were already there and unite myself wholly to you.
Never permit me to be separated from you. Amen.
Originally found in Faith Magazine. Reprinted with permission.