Many of you have reached out to Father Mark and me to say how you miss having the Eucharist, that sharing in the bread and wine made holy is an important part of your connection to God. We miss it as well. For those of us called to be priests, being able to preside at the Eucharist is a fundamental aspect of our call and to not be able to do so feels like a profound loss.
And of course, in these times, we are all being called to put aside our usual way of doing so many things, and in the process see what God is teaching us, and how God is reaching out to us in new ways.
In consultation with Bishop Susan, beginning Palm Sunday, we will begin a practice that has been called “Spiritual Communion,” and has been practiced in some churches, including the National Cathedral. In Spiritual Communion, the priest blesses bread and wine, but it is not consumed. Instead, everyone is invited to say these words:
My Jesus, I believe you are truly present in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. I love you above all things, and long for you in my soul. Since I cannot now receive you physically from the Altar at this time, I am grateful to know you come into my heart spiritually. As you have come so many times and always will. I embrace you and unite myself entirely to you; never permit me to be separated from you. Amen.
In this practice we are able to hear the beloved words of the Eucharistic prayer, beginning with “The Lord be with you,” and acknowledge both the times in which we find ourselves and how God comes to us always. Indeed nothing can ever separate us from the love of God.
Throughout this time and after, may we all drink deeply from the well of Living Water that comes to us in so many ways.