Importance of Spiritual Communion Learned in Madrid

Father Lombardi Reflects on 2011 World Youth Day

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VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 4, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The young people who participated in the closing Mass of World Youth Day last month in Madrid learned the value of "spiritual communion," says a Vatican spokesman.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, stated this in the most recent edition of "Octava Dies," a weekly production of the Vatican Television Center.

The priest recalled that the culminating moment the World Youth Day events in Madrid was "naturally, the final meeting in Cuatro Vientos: with the Pope, but even more so the celebration in community together with the Pope in the presence of Christ."

"Two characteristic aspects of the event come to mind," he explained, "which will continue to be crucial to the reflections of young people and the whole Church on the relationship with Jesus Christ present in the Eucharist."

Above all was the evening adoration, the priest stated: "Since World Youth Day in Cologne in 2005, Eucharistic adoration has had a central place in the Vigil. The absolute silence of hundreds of thousands of young people in prayer helps the whole Church to rediscover the importance of Eucharistic adoration, which many of us had perhaps underestimated or forgotten."

"Being in silence with Jesus," the spokesman added, "this is how we can begin to listen and to talk to him, how we can deepen our communion with him." 

Next, he continued, was the "aspect of spiritual communion."

"During the Mass, numerous young people – for unforeseeable reasons – were unable to take sacramental Communion," Father Lombardi explained. "This helped us to remember the precious words from a recent document by the Pope, which warn that, 'Care must be taken lest [the faithful] conclude that the mere fact of their being present in church during the liturgy gives them a right or even an obligation to approach the table of the Eucharist. Even in cases where it is not possible to receive sacramental communion, participation at Mass remains necessary, important, meaningful and fruitful.'

"In these circumstances we have to 'cultivate the desire for full union with Christ,' by making 'spiritual Communion' as and ancient and beautiful tradition puts it."

"At Mass, the community of the whole Church celebrates the death and resurrection of Jesus, living and present," the spokesman concluded. "Receiving Him in the Sacrament is still a free gift; the intense desire to be united with Him is also an effective source of communion.

"This is a very important word of hope and solidarity for all those who for many reasons – whether practical or tied to conditions of family life – cannot take sacramental Communion on a given day. The unwanted fast from the Eucharist of a million young people in Cuatro Vientos was a great positive message."