Christmas is here but in the secular world, Christmas is over on the same day it begins. As I see it Christmas is a season that is celebrated from Advent through Christmas Eve on December 24th. Christmastide follows, beginning with First Vespers on Christmas Eve until the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.
None the less, we begin this wonderful season of Christmas with joy in our hearts and prayers for one another. None of us could have imagined the trials that we faced over the past year. But despite this, we can acknowledge our challenges and celebrate the blessings that have helped us through these difficult and uncertain times.
The birth of Christ reminds us that we are absolutely loved. God sent his only Begotten Son to bring hope to our fallen world, and we must continue to celebrate this hope as we joyfully proclaim our faith-even during the restrictions of social distancing during this pandemic.
Due to the current situation, many of us are worshipping remotely or spaced out across the church. As we participate in the Mass let us remember to pray for each other especially for those who are no longer with us or unable to attend Mass. One thing that we do at my home parish is to recite the Spiritual Communion Prayer.
I believe that You are present in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if you were already there,
and I unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.
In the present crisis, something has been taken from us – direct access to the Eucharist in the Body and Blood of Christ. How can we alleviate the true pain that we feel in the present moment when access to the Mass and the Precious Body and Blood of Christ is limited.
By reciting the Spiritual Communion Prayer, it allows us to join more fully in the Eucharistic reality at the heart of the Church. We can continue to offer prayers for ourselves, for our families, and for those who are suffering. We pray for those affected by this terrible epidemic and for its conclusion. The Church has taught through the centuries that when a person is not able to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus in the Mass, we can still unite ourselves to Him in prayer.
For the times that you can’t attend Mass, you can still reach out to Him by making a Spiritual Communion in prayer. This prayer was written by St. Thomas Aquinas and he defined Spiritual Communion as, “an ardent desire to receive Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament and in lovingly embracing him as if we had actually received Him”
Through Advent, we were preparing for the events of Christmas. As we celebrate during Christmastide, we should reflect on the mysteries that we celebrate over the next few weeks. The celebrations of the Feast of the Holy Family, Mary Mother of God, the Epiphany, and the Baptism of the Lord are gifts given to all of us that allows us to see how much we are loved by God through the life of His son, Jesus Christ.