The Eve of Corpus Christi, MU Devotion
Tomorrow is the feast of Corpus Christi or the Day of Thanksgiving for Holy Communion. A day marked in many places by a procession of large numbers of people, taking the Church out into the community. Something that we are not likely to see this year even in the most traditional of countries. More fundamentally poignant about the day this year, is that we are not able to gather to receive the very sacrament that the day celebrates.
Three months without being able to participate in the Eucharist is very difficult for those of you for whom receiving the Body and Blood of Christ is a fundamental part of your spirituality. Throughout history many Christians have found themselves in similar situations due to persecution, imprisonment, self-isolation, or times of national crisis. As such the Church has offered an act of Spiritual Communion for those unable to attend a Eucharist service.
When our bodies and souls thirst for the hidden reality in the Eucharist, we can participate in the unity of the body the Church. Our desire to seek the Beloved’s presence enables us to find Jesus, even when we cannot be present physically during a celebration of the Eucharist. In the words of the Church in Wales service of Spiritual Communion – we invite Jesus to come spiritually into our hearts. To unite ourselves with Him and embrace Him with our heart, mind and soul.
This period of isolation has taught us much about how to share with others in ways that are not physical. Helping us to see that we are much more than physical beings. The needs of our souls have taken centre stage because we have the peace and time to listen to them. Our challenge might be that as we emerge out of lockdown, all be it rather slowly, we get so caught up again in the busyness of life that the needs of our souls are forced to take a back seat again.
I pray that we may all continue to share in one spiritual communion of love and support, which feeds the desire for God within our souls.
A Short Rite for Spiritual Communion
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Jesus, Saviour of the world, we thank you that in this wonderful sacrament you have left us a memorial of your passion: grant us so to reverence the sacred mysteries of your body and blood that we may know within ourselves the fruit of your redeeming love; who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Read the Gospel of Christ according to Saint John (either John 6. 35, 53-58 or John 15. 1-11).
We offer up to God all our worries, hopes, fears and failings.
Heavenly Father, we have sinned in thought, word, and deed, and have failed to do what we ought to have done. We are sorry and truly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ who died for us, forgive us all that is past and lead us in his way to walk as children of light. Amen.
Almighty God, who forgives all who truly repent, have mercy on us and set us free from sin, strengthen us in goodness and keep us in eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Listen to the words of comfort our Saviour Christ says to all those who truly turn to him:
Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3. 16
Listen also to what Saint Paul says:
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. 1 Timothy 1. 15
Listen also to what Saint John says:
If anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 2.1,2
Take a moment to reflect upon the Eucharist and Christ’s command to “Do this in remembrance of me”.
O Blessed Lord, in union with the faithful throughout the world,
at every altar of your Church where the Eucharist is being celebrated,
I desire to offer you praise and thanksgiving.
I present to you my soul and body
with the earnest wish that I may always be united to you.
Since I cannot now receive you in the Sacrament,
I invite you to come spiritually into my heart.
I unite myself to you and embrace you with heart and mind and soul.
Let nothing ever separate you from me, so that I may live and die in your love. Amen.
Conclude with the ancient prayer “Anima Christi” in place of a Blessing.
Soul of Christ sanctify me.
Body of Christ save me.
Blood of Christ refresh me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ strengthen me.
O good Lord Jesus, hear me.
Within your wounds, hide me.
Do not permit me to be separated from you,
and from the malicious enemy defend me.
In the hour of my death call me and bid me to come to you
that with all the saints, I may praise you for ever and ever. Amen.