First let me tell you that in ordinary times I think the concept of Spiritual Communion is not helpful. I mean after all we work hard to get even cradle Catholics to know and accept that Holy Communion is REALLY the body and blood of Christ Jesus under the form of bread and wine. It is not spiritual, it is REAL. And given what we believe about the sacrament of the Eucharist, we say that it undoes what we do during Mass if we don’t go to Communion. We come to be fed, by the word and by the Body and Blood of Christ, we bring the gifts forward to altar, we join Jesus as he offers himself fully and obediently to the Father, we go with him where we could not go without him. The moment this is accomplished we are given the very gifts we offered, now REALLY the Body and Blood of Christ, to feed us and to fill us so that we can go forth with that REAL presence in us. When we don’t go to communion it is as though we were telling the Lord “no worries, I’m good”.
But these are not ordinary times, who would have imagined that the church would ask us to fast from Holy Communion for perhaps 2 or 3 months? Who would have thought that we could only access the Eucharist, the font and summit of our spiritual lives only virtually, and with no collection? So, what to me doesn’t seem like a good idea, well maybe it is. As we watch Mass livestreamed, when communion time comes, or even daily in your morning prayer let me suggest this: imagine yourself in church walking up the aisle preparing to receive communion. You have, as you participated in the Eucharist already joined yourself the giving of Christ to God the Father, you have made yourself one with him in prayer, now in prayer make yourself one with him as you come to receive Him. You know already from reception of Communion many times how you are filled with his very life. Open yourself in faith to receive him, believe more deeply in his Presence for which you long, then pause and feel the power of his enduring presence in you. Perhaps this long fast as we await the reopening of our parish church can lead you to an even greater love of and longing for that Real Presence in you, often.
The parish staff, Fr. Charlie and I miss you, the absence of your real presence feels like a hole in our hearts. But believe this, we are thinking of and praying for you daily. Let’s join in prayer and in belief, we may be physically separated for a while, but we are still one because we are the Body of Christ.