CHAPTER II , iv – ON SPIRITUAL COMMUNION
XI. We have already said that every one who assists at Mass, and who is precluded from receiving sacramentally, ought not to fail to communicate spiritually, at the moment the Priest receives the Sacred Body and Blood of our Lord. It ought, however, to be remembered that, according to the doctrine of the Council of Trent, there are three ways of communicating :
the first, only sacramentally, the second, spiritually, and the third, both sacramentally and spiritually. We do not speak here of the first, which is that of those who communicate in the state of mortal sin, as did the traitor Judas ; nor of the third, which is common to all those who receive sacramentally the Holy Eucharist in the state of grace ; we speak only of the second, which, as the same Council says, is for those, “Who not being able to receive sacramentally the Body of the Lord, receive Him spiritually, with acts of a lively faith that work by charity^ and with a longing desire of uniting themselves to the Supreme Good, they thus render themselves capable of receiving the fruit of this Divine Sacrament.”*[Con. Trid. Sess. 43- Cap. 8. ] According to this doctrine, those who cannot receive the Holy Eucharist really receive it spiritually, by making those acts of faith and charity, with an ardent desire of uniting their hearts to Jesus Christ in His Sacrament of love. pg.73.
To facilitate a practice so advantageous, ponder seriously what I am going to say :
When the Priest is on the point of receiving, place yourself in the most respectful posture possible, and with profound recollection make with all your heart an act of contrition ; then humbly striking your breast, to show that you acknowledge yourself unworthy of such a grace, recite the acts of love, offering, humility, etc., which you are accustomed to perform when you sacramentally approach the Holy Table. Add to this the most ardent desire of receiving Jesus Christ, Who, for your sake, deigns to hide Himself under the veil of the sacramental species, and, in order to re-animate your devotion, imagine that the Blessed Virgin, or some one of your patron Saints, comes to present you with the Sacred Host; fancy that you receive it really and holding Jesus closely clasped to your heart, repeat, again and again, these words :
” Come, my Jesus, the love and life of my soul ! Come into this poor heart; come, and satiate my desires ; come and sanctify my soul ; come, O most sweet Jesus, come!”
After this remain silent ; contemplate your God within your heart ; and, as if you had really received Him, adore Him, give Him thanks, and perform all the other ordinary acts after Communion.
Be fully assured that this spiritual Communion, so neglected by Christians in our days, is nevertheless a real treasure which replenishes the soul with innumerable blessings. According to several authors, and among others, Father Rodriguez, it is so useful, that it may produce the same graces as Sacramental Communion, and even greater : for, although Sacramental Communion of its own nature produces greater fruit, because being a Sacrament it operates by its own nature, yet a soul desirous of its perfection may make a Spiritual Communion with so much humility, love, and devotion, this to merit a greater grace than is granted one who communicates sacramentally, but with less fervor and preparation. This way of communicating is so pleasing to our Lord that very often He
has deigned to hearken to the pious desires of His servants by giving Himself sacramentally to them. This happened to the Blessed Clare of Montefalco, to St. Catherine of Sienna, and to St. Lidwina, At other times, He gave Himself to them through the ministry of Angels, as we read in the lives of St. Bonaventure and of two holy Bishops, Honoratus and Firminus; and again by the most holy Mother of God who deigned to give Holy Communion with her own hands to St. Sylvester. These touching examples of God’s holy love will not astonish you, if you consider that Spiritual Communion inflames the soul with holy fervor, unites it intimately to God, and disposes it for receiving His most signal favors. Can it be possible, then, that so many advantages should make no impression on you, and that you would always remain so cold and insensible? pg.75.
What excuse will you henceforth be able to make, if you neglect a practice so holy and so useful? Make, then, the resolution of frequently availing yourself of it ; and as an inducement to be faithful to it, remember that Spiritual Communion has this advantage over Sacramental Communion, that this latter can be made only once in twenty-four hours, whilst the former can be made not only at every Mass, but at any time of the day, morning, evening, or night, in church or in your room, and even without your spiritual director’s permission. In a word, as often as you will do what I have just now said, you may make a Spiritual Communion, and thus enrich your souls with graces, merits, and all kinds of spiritual blessings. Oh, how many souls have, by this salutary practice, often repeated in the course of the day, arrived at the highest degree of sanctity.
This is the only end I had in view in writing this little book, that is, to inspire all those who read it with a holy desire to introduce into the whole Church the practice of hearing Mass every day with solid piety and true devotion, and of making each time a Spiritual Communion. Oh, what happiness for the faithful if this end be obtained ! We should then see the holy fervor of the Primitive Church flourishing in our midst; for, in the golden age of the Apostles, we read that the faithful received Holy Communion every day whilst assisting at Holy Mass. If you are not worthy to receive your God so often, at least, assist every day at Holy Mass, and each time make a Spiritual Communion. If I succeed in persuading you, who read these pages, to practice this devotion, I will regard my time and labor in writing them well employed. But, in order to remove all the excuses that are wont to be adduced by some persons for not hearing daily Mass, I shall give, in the following chapter, several examples from every condition of life, which shall prove that those who thus deprive themselves of such a blessing by their own fault, are preparing bitter regrets and remorse for the hour of death. pg.77. end #IV.
Daily Indulgence: #164 To the faithful who make an act of spiritual Communion, using any formula they may choose, there is granted: An indulgence 3 yrs.; A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions when the act is performed every day for a month (S.P. Ap., Mar 7,1927 and Feb 25,1933). RACCOLTA pg.95-96.