“Lord, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. . . .
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart.”
—from the Act of Spiritual Communion
Despite the consolation the Act of Spiritual Communion offers the Church during this time of virtual Mass and assembly, the prayer simultaneously elicits a deep sense of loss. Its supplication wells from the sorrowful confession that precedes it, in which we plainly acknowledge our inability to physically receive the Eucharist—the Body of Christ in whom and from whom the Church receives her truest identity. With the concluding line, we plead with Jesus, “never permit me to be separated from You”; yet it seems that we already have been separated from him, and that the timing couldn’t be worse. Amid the chaos of disease and death, we experience ourselves as cut off from the very source and summit of our life. We ask, “Why, O Lord, have you forsaken your beloved in this critical hour? How do we reconcile your apparent disappearance with our unchanging dependence on you? Is it possible to partake joyfully in the Paschal Mystery while unable to receive Communion as we have in the past?”