As the coronavirus spreads so has public anxiety about how people should live in to order to halt its progress, to avoid contraction or recover from illness.
Pressure is building upon the bishops to offer guidance on how Masses might be celebrated safely.
Perhaps for the first time Catholics are hearing about “spiritual communion”, not least in the Diocese of Lancaster where it is recommended as a measure to control the contagion by Bishop Paul Swarbrick.
Spiritual communion was defined by St Thomas Aquinas as “an ardent desire to receive Jesus in the Holy Sacrament and a loving embrace as though we had already received Him”.
In the present context it means not receiving the Blessed Sacrament physically.
The following prayer might be useful in making a spiritual communion:
“My Jesus, I believe that thou art present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love thee above all things, and I desire to receive thee in my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive thee sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace thee as if thou wert already there, and unite myself wholly to thee. Never permit me to be separated from thee. Amen.”
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