Spiritual Communion in times when we cannot worship together
‘Spiritual Communion’ describes how we can share in the communion of Jesus Christ when we cannot worship together. Indeed, all sharing of the Eucharist is spiritual communion, because while we are not literally with Jesus Christ and the apostles on that first Holy Communion, we join with them in spirit when we celebrate the Eucharist.
In this present time, as at all times, Jesus Christ is present among us through the Holy Spirit. The act of spiritual communion helps us to know and acknowledge his presence during difficult times, when we live in physical isolation and may feel emotionally isolated as well.
How to make your spiritual communion:
In making a spiritual communion you should try to find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted. You may wish to sit facing a cross, light a candle, or sit in a window where you can see the beauty of God’s world. You may wish to make your spiritual communion at the same time each day, or on one day of the week. You may wish to view a live streamed service, listen to a service on the radio, or watch one on television before making your spiritual communion. Choose what works best for you.
It is useful to begin by reflecting upon God’s gifts given to you at this time, and include a brief confession, where you ask forgiveness for those times you have hurt others, or refrained from doing things within your power that would have helped others. You may wish to use a prayer book, or use prayers on line or from other sources to help focus your mind on God, or you may simply want to sit quietly in God’s presence. There is no right or wrong way. The important thing is to come before God and set yourself within God’s protective love.
When you are ready, bring to mind this passage from John 6.35:
Jesus said, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’
Sit for a time with these words and reflect on them.
When you are ready, end with this prayer or another prayer that helps you to feel close to God:
A prayer to accompany spiritually receiving of Holy Communion
Lord, we ask You, open to us Your heavens and open our eyes to you.
That from above, your gifts may descend on us,
and from below, our hearts look back to You.
May Your treasure be laid open to us,
and our minds laid open to You.
Build us up in Your love,
cleanse us with Your purity,
enlighten us with Your wisdom.
Keep us in Your mercy.
Put forth Your own hand from heaven
and bless each one of us,
in our communities, our nations, and our world.
May we feel the touch of Your hand,
and receive the joy of Your Holy Spirit
and abide in Your peace for evermore. Amen
(after the prayer of St Ethelwold, c. 909-984)
Additional information on Spiritual Communion and the Coronavirus from the Church of England can be found here.