Why do we do that? Catholic Life Explained
March 17, 2021
Question: What is spiritual communion, and do you need to be in a state of grace to receive it?
Answer: The practice of making a “spiritual communion” dates back several centuries and St. Thomas Aquinas described it as “an ardent desire to receive Jesus in the Holy Sacrament and a loving embrace as though we had already received Him.” Traditionally, a prayer of spiritual communion has been used by those who are unable to receive sacramental communion because of health, inability to attend Mass, or who cannot receive communion because of grave sin. This practice has been encouraged by many saints and spiritual writers and most recently Pope Francis encouraged the practice when the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic prevented so many Catholics from taking part in the Mass or receiving sacramental communion.
Although the graces offered in spiritual communion are not the same as those offered in the sacramental communion of the Mass, this practice is still a powerful opportunity to express our desire for union with the Lord and to be united with Christ and the Church, even in an imperfect way.