Faith

Rediscovering the Beauty of Spiritual Communion

I was scrolling Facebook when I found out that every diocese in America had officially canceled all public Masses. With stressors on every side combined with this new information, I immediately broke down into tears when I saw an infographic of a blacked-out United States indicating that the USCCB had closed every Church.

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COVID heartbreak

When churches closed, I couldn’t help but be frustrated that these “unprecedented times” seemed to have won. Watching Mass was not the same as attending Mass, and yet, even though I knew that this was the best we were going to get, I felt so disconnected from our Lord. Our Church was taking one heck of a spiritual hit, and it hurt! After several Sunday live streams I began to think, “What is the point?” (And I was mad at myself for feeling that way while also trying to encourage my flock to stay faithful to the Church.)

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If I was honest with myself, my eucharistic fire needed to rekindle regardless of the pandemic. I was not on fire with love for Jesus as I once was. I was distracted, and there were times when I took him for granted. And yet, this was a season of conversion because the real question was not “Where is the Lord?” Rather, it was God asking me, “Where are you?”

Despite my best efforts to “enter in” and fully engage, I had to come to terms that everything had changed. Yes, the Church was technically meeting us where we were – on our screens at home. Isn’t that exactly what we tell our teens: “Christ meets us where we are”? However, that truth didn’t come alive for me through the screen, but rather, through frequent acts of spiritual Communion, and this is how I really “returned to Mass.”

Rediscovering Spiritual Communion – My real return

Spiritual Communion is just for old grandmas watching EWTN who can’t make it to Mass, right?

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Wrong! Spiritual Communion isn’t just a “nice sentiment” or something we passively pray when the priest says we should. Instead, it’s a practice of constantly acknowledging that Christ is present in my heart and that He is always inviting me into a lived relationship with Him.

So many saints have made a practice of spiritual Communion, especially in the most unprecedented circumstances, and it converted their hearts and the hearts of the many that they ministered to. Making a frequent act of spiritual Communion could never replace receiving the Eucharist, but it still produces real fruits.

Making a frequent Act of Spiritual Communion

At the end of the day, I realized the importance of perspective. I couldn’t control my circumstances, but I could be changed by them. Will I roll over and let life happen to me, or will I challenge myself to be receptive? This is the question we all face every day. Will I step up and inspire others to receive grace? The words of Saint Peter rang in my heart, “Lord, to Whom shall we go?” (John 6:68). I had to let my life be a genuine reason for why someone would even consider returning to the Sacraments again. And to do that, I chose to rediscover the beauty of living life with Him… even when it seemed like I couldn’t.

This is a vulnerable time where we couldn’t, and many still can’t receive Jesus in the Eucharist. I invite us to pray for our Catholic brothers and sisters worldwide who are without the sacraments due to various circumstances. Let’s not only make a spiritual communion during a live-streamed Mass for ourselves, but for the entire Body of Christ, and make a habit of it throughout our day. Quiet your heart, recognize that the Trinity dwells in you, and unite yourself to him through a formal prayer of spiritual Communion found here: https://www.ewtn.com/catholicism/devotions/act-of-spiritual-communion-339. Or by making similar Acts of Spiritual Communion through exclamations of the heart, such as, “Jesus, come be my joy,” or, “Come into my heart.”

Doing so has greatly impacted my relationships and ministry, and I pray that it continues to change your heart, too!

Photo by Jacob Bentzinger on Unsplash

About the Author

Kaitlyn Callahan

Kaitlyn Callahan is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville and is a Middle School Youth Minister in Atlanta. When she is not cooking hot dogs for EDGE, she can be found in a flower shop, writing poetry, chatting over Dunkin’ iced coffee, or encountering the beauty of life with her fiancé.

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