By Richard Meek

The Catholic Commentator  

As the coronavirus continues to bring a country to its knees, the physical and mental affects are immeasurable.  

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But what about the spiritual effect, as the cancellation of Masses has left Catholics without the opportunity to receive the Eucharist, or even attend eucharastic adoration?  

With Mass no longer an option and an increasing number of people quarantined, self-quarantining or living in a city such as Louisiana with “stay home” mandates, how does one’s spiritual life survive extraordinary and stressful times?  

“Not being able to receive the holy Communion is a great sadness for the faithful because, receiving the holy Eucharist is the center and joy of their lives,” said Father Paul Yi, chancellor for the Diocese of Baton Rouge. “When we cannot unite with Christ in sacramental (physical) communion, saints of the church advise that we unite with Christ by making a spiritual communion.”  

Father Yi said that in a spiritual communion a person asks Christ to come in the same way he would if that person was able to receive the sacrament. Father Yi added that a person can make a spiritual communion as often as one likes, informally using one’s own words by praying one of the traditional prayers. 

He said the first step is a genuine longing for union with Christ. According to St. Thomas Aquinas a “complete spiritual communion can even take
place when we are unable to receive sacramentally, because the effect of the sacrament can be secured if it is by desire.”  

Father Yi recalled how St. Catherine of Siena once doubted whether her spiritual communion had any real value compared to a sacramental communion.  

“In a vision she saw Jesus holding two chalices and said, ‘In this golden chalice I put your sacramental communions. In this silver chalice I put your spiritual communions. Both chalices are quite pleasing to me,’ ” Father Yi said.  

He noted that St. Teresa of Avila also saw a great value of making a spiritual communion, quoting the saint who once said, “ When you do not receive Communion and you do not attend Mass, you can make a spiritual communion, which is a most beneficial practice; by it the love of God will be greatly impressed on you. ” 

Father Yi flashed back to the days immediately following Hurricane Katrina and said he, along with so many others, spent hours watching the news and reading newspapers and the internet. He said while the news was initially helpful, it soon contributed to the feeling of hopelessness and powerlessness.  

“I imagine that we will potentially face similar malaise as we ‘hunker down’ in our homes during this pandemic,” he said. “Yet, it does not have to be this way.  

“This is an opportunity to practice corporal works and spiritual works of mercy for our neighbors. Our Lord said if we reach out to those who are isolated, hungry, naked and sick, then we are touching and helping Christ himself.”  

Father Yi reflected on St. Charles Borromeo when famine and plague struck the city of Milan, Italy. St. Charles organized the religious in the community and fed and cared for the hungry and sick, feeding more than 60,000 people in one day.  

Father Yi noted that St. Charles went into personal debt to cover the cost and also visited those suffering from the plague and “bathed them with compassion.”  

“While we may not be able to do what St. Charles did, perhaps we can reach out to those who are homebound by phone or offer to grocery shop for those who should not be in public,” he said. “(St.) Mother Teresa always said, ‘It’s not how much we give but how much love we put in giving.’  

“She also reminded us, ‘Never let anything so fill you with sorrow as to make you forget the joy of the Risen Christ … we have it in our power to be in heaven with God right now, by being happy with him at this very moment. It means loving as he loves, helping as he helps, giving as he gives, serving as he serves, rescuing as he rescues, being with him 24 hours a day, touching him in his distressing disguise in the poor and suffering.’ ”  

Masses that are televised and aired on the radio: 

CatholicLife Television 

Cox Cable Ch. 15  (Baton Rouge)  

Spectrum/Charter Cable Ch. 198 (Hammond)  

Spectrum/Charter Cable Ch. 10  (St. James Civil Parish)  

Fidelity Cable Ch. 14 (New Roads)  

(also available on YouTube, Roku and Facebook)

Daily:  8 a.m. (live); noon; 6 p.m.  

Sunday: 10:30 a.m. (live); 12:30 p.m.; 4:30 p.m.; 6:30 p.m.  

 

Catholic Community Radio

1380 AM, Baton Rouge; 105.9 FM, Baton Rouge; 690 AM, New Orleans 

Mon-Satnoon, 6 p.m.  

Sunday: 10:30 a.m. (Baton Rouge); 11 a.m. New Orleans) 

 

EWTN (television)  

Daily, Sunday: 7 a.m (live); 11 a.m.; 6 p.m.; 11 p.m. 

 

Sirius XM satellite radio

The Catholic Channel (CH. 129)  

Daily6 a.m., 9 a.m.  

Sunday: 10 a.m.; noon