Priests often insist to people to go to confession and receive communion. Ideally, and most normal, would be that we would have the opportunity and desire to confess regularly in order to receive Holy Communion every time we participate in the Eucharist. But, it would be naive on our part not to take into account that life is not perfect and that there are situations or some decisions that we have made in life for which it is not possible for us to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord in communion. So the obligatory question arises, “What to do then?” “Where do people who cannot receive the body and blood of Christ take part?”
The Church wishes nothing more than have all of her sons and daughters to fully participate in the sacraments, and that’s why she invites and places the means so that, for those who it is possible, solve their situations in regard to the sacraments.
But, if there are situations in which it is more complex or it is not possible to solve the situation, I propose two ways in which you can take advantage of the spiritual participation in the Eucharist. One of them is what Pope Paul VI tells us in a document entitled Dei Verbum (Word of God) in which he tells us the following: "The Church has always venerated the divine Scriptures just as she venerates the body of the Lord, since, especially in the sacred liturgy…”(# 21). In other words, the word of God also puts us in communion with Jesus because when the word of God is proclaimed, it is God himself who speaks to us, and our attentive listening and our welcoming reception with an open heart makes the Word produce fruit in our life.
A second way in which we can participate is through the so-called "Spiritual Communion". This is a small prayer that also puts in union with God those who cannot receive the Body and Blood of the Lord. The prayer is by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori and goes as follows:
My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.
Fr. Manuel Rosiles, msps