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 a circumstance when we cannot receive him in Sacramental Communion. When we cannot make it to Mass, we can still make an Act of Spiritual Communion, in which we express our faith in Christ and in His Presence in the Eucharist, as well as ask Him to unite Himself with us. The basic elements of an Act of Spiritual Communion are Acts of Faith and Love; a desire to receive Christ and an invitation to Him to come into your heart. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the highest form of worship and though we may not be able to receive Him in the Real Presence of the Eucharist, we can unite our hearts and souls to the Cross and to the Resurrection in a very special way in order to conform more and more to Christ.
St. Alphonsus Liguori Sprirtual Communion Prayer- “My Jesus, 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”
Lectio Divina is an ancient form of meditation which has been practiced by religious orders since the earliest times in Church history. These early monks and nuns would use lectio divina in their daily readings of Scripture as they prepared for the Eucharist and as they prayed the Liturgy of the Hours. Lectio divina, is a Latin phrase for “divine reading”, used as a method for praying with Scripture. As you read and invite the Word to become transforming, you can come to live a more deeply rooted life in Scripture each day.
Four Steps of Lectio Divina:
- Lectio (reading)- The goal of this reading is not to rush through as much as possible, but to look at it simply with reverence as the Word of God. Rather than reading multiple chapters in large chunks at a time, the reader should reflect on a short passage, pausing on a word or phrase which sticks out.
- Meditatio (meditation)- Reading the passage again, and maybe even more then once,the reader can meditate on what has stuck out, finding what its saying to you and your heart.. To be still with the Word, to sit and chew on them silently, slowly, and deeply.
- Contemplation (contemplation)- Contemplation is an openness of the heart where the reader experiences God as the One who allows us to know Him through Scripture. This openness is where He meets us and talks intimately to us. By grace, contemplation gives us the ability to connect the reading to daily life and conversion.
- Oratio (oration)- This step invites a personal response to God. This response is in dialogue and should be a conversation, taking time to talk with Him about what was read, heard, and experienced, and the questions which arose in your heart. Prayer is not a one way street, but an embracing of friends during the ordinary and extraordinary ups and downs of life. This then leads us to action and change our lives towards Him.
The easiest way to start lectio divina is to read the daily readings, specifically the Gospel, of the Church found here.
The Stations of the Cross is one of the best ways to meditate on Christ’s final moments as man on Earth. The 14 stations are a mini pilgrimage where we are able to walk along with Christ to Calvary while praying and meditating on His Sacrifice for us.
The Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet are powerful prayers and can change your life and the world around you. Both of these prayers, by using rosary beads, or even your fingers, can be said anywhere, at any time and they don’t even need to be said all at once. Though they are both easy and quick to do, you can bring the Spirit and love of God closer to your daily life by meditating on the mysteries and themes within them.
Prince Gallitzin’s Intercessory Prayer: God of mercy and love, your faithful servant, Father Demetrius A. Gallitzin, gave up everything to sow the seeds of faith among the people of the Allegheny Mountains. Please listen to his intercession for us in our day, even as we ask that we be allowed to invoke him publicly as our patron with you. Pour out your kindness and mercy upon us and listen to our prayer, as we humbly beseech you to grant us the favor of name your intention. Give us the humble courage of Servant of God Demetrius, so that we may praise and bless you through service to our neighbor and through witness to the Gospel of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen
PRAYER RECITED BY POPE FRANCIS
FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE WORLD
O Mary, you always shine on our path as a sign of salvation and of hope. We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick, who at the cross took part in Jesus’ pain, keeping your faith firm. You, Salvation of the Roman People, know what we need, and we are sure you will provide so that, as in Cana of Galilee, we may return to joy and to feasting after this time of trial. Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform to the will of the Father and to do as we are told by Jesus, who has taken upon himself our sufferings and carried our sorrows to lead us, through the cross, to the joy of the resurrection. Amen. Under your protection, we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God. Do not disdain the entreaties of we who are in trial, but deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.
A great way to stay focused spiritually in these times, and any time, is to keep your prayer life consistent and disciplined. By creating a small and quiet area in your home, whether it be in the corner or an entire room, we can create a small sanctuary for Our Lord to live and remind us to pray. By putting up a crucifix, an image of Mary, a Bible, or a rosary, in this area, we can transform the ordinary place into a sacred space. In creating this sacred area, we can more freely be reminded of the importance of the Lord in our lives and find peace and silence in Him while we pray throughout the day.