Spiritual Communion

The Diocese has recommended the benefit of “Spiritual Communion” during church closures when access to public worship is no longer viable. 

Universalis provides access to not only daily readings for Mass, but also gives the readings for the Liturgy of the Hours (“Divine Office”) which may be encouraging for those of you who wish to pray throughout the day. There are also applications available for various mobile devices (iPhone, iPad, Android etc.) which may allow you to pray wherever you are, whatever you are doing, whenever you can.
 
This is a great opportunity to pray regularly with your family and household while public worship is on hold. 
 
 

The four steps to Lectio Divina (“Sacred Reading”) of scripture

 

STAGE 1 – LECTIO– slow reading of a Bible passage.    

STAGE 2 – MEDITATIO – reflection on what you have just read.

STAGE 3 -ORATIO – respond with a prayer to what you have just read.

STAGE 4 – CONTEMPLATIO – resting and allowing the message of the Bible passage to sink in.

Imaginative Prayer by St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), the founder of the Jesuits (“Society of Jesus”)

Ignatius was convinced that God can speak to us as surely through our imagination as through our thoughts and memories. In the Ignatian tradition, praying with the imagination is called contemplation. In the Exercises, contemplation is a very active way of praying that engages the mind and heart and stirs up thoughts and emotions. (Note that in other spiritual traditions, contemplation has quite a different meaning: it refers to a way of praying that frees the mind of all thoughts and images.) Ignatian contemplation is suited especially for the Gospels… We accompany Jesus through his life by imagining scenes from the Gospel stories. Let the events of Jesus’ life be present to you right now. Visualize the event as if you were making a movie. Pay attention to the details: sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and feelings of the event. Lose yourself in the story; don’t worry if your imagination is running too wild. At some point, place yourself in the scene.

Contemplating a Gospel scene is not simply remembering it or going back in time. Through the act of contemplation, the Holy Spirit makes present a mystery of Jesus’ life in a way that is meaningful for you now. Use your imagination to dig deeper into the story so that God may communicate with you in a personal, evocative way.

We might initially worry about going beyond the text of the Gospel. If you have offered your time of prayer to God, then begin by trusting that God is communicating with you. If you wonder if your imagination is going “too far,” then do some discernment with how you are praying. Where did your imagining lead you: Closer to God or farther away? Is your imagining bringing you consolation or desolation?

Some people find imaginative prayer difficult. They may not be able to picture the scene easily, yet they may have some intuition or gut reaction to the story. Or they may hear or feel the story more than visualize it. In a spirit of generosity, pray as you are able; don’t try to force it. Rest assured that God will speak to you, whether through your memory, understanding, intellect, emotions, or imagination. Excerpt from The Ignatian Adventure by Kevin O’Brien, SJ.

 

Chaplet of the Divine Mercy

The following is a prayer which, although not as well-known as others, is popular with many. It is called the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy and we pray it once a fortnight during lunchtime in the Chapel. 
 

1. Make the Sign of the Cross

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

2. Optional Opening Prayers

You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us. 

(Repeat three times) 
O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in You!

3. Our Father

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, Amen.

4. Hail Mary

Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.

5. The Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; He descended into hell; on the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

6. The Eternal Father

Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.

7. On the 10 Small Beads of Each Decade

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

8. Repeat for the remaining decades

Saying the “Eternal Father” (6) on the “Our Father” bead and then 10 “For the sake of His sorrowful Passion” (7) on the following “Hail Mary” beads.

9. Conclude with Holy God (Repeat three times)

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

10. Optional Closing Prayer

Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion — inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.

 
People can use Rosary beads if they wish.
 
 As this prayer was made popular by St. Faustina Kowalska, who was Polish, this prayer may be particularly popular with  our families with Polish connections. For those pupils of ours whose Polish might not be very strong, I have included this video which was produced in preparation for World Youth Day in Krakow 2016.