“And this consecrated means the heart in love, so let us bring that joy of loving in our own hearts first and share it with others. Do not be afraid to love until it hurts, until it hurts because to give like that is easy, to give from the abundance is easy.”
Do we have an abundance of love for Jesus in our hearts? Or do we feel more like a tiny bucket with a hundred holes at the bottom, receiving grace in the sacraments and feeling it slip away almost immediately?
When our vocation is to serve our family and not, as our daydreams sometimes direct us, spending the entire day in prayer in front of the tabernacle, how do we keep in touch with the grace of the sacraments when the sacraments seem a million miles away, kept at bay by sick babies, morning school routines, or simply a two-year-old? And how can we hang on to the abundance of grace available in those sacraments until we’re able to receive them again?
St. Maximilian Kolbe, whose feast day we celebrated on Friday, might have the answer for us. In Vinny Flynn’s 7 Secrets of the Eucharist, Flynn writes:
Kolbe stressed what we’ve already seen from St. Thomas Aquinas, that the graces of the Eucharist are received in proportion to our spiritual condition, our desire to be united with God. And, since God always honors our desire for union with Him, these graces are not limited to sacramental Communion. ‘At times,’ Kolbe explained, ‘spiritual communion brings the same graces as sacramental’ (p. 86).
As often as we want, we can pray a prayer of spiritual communion and offer our hearts to Jesus to become united with Him, to be filled up with His love so that we can in turn love Him in our family and friends. St. Maximilian Kolbe said that if our desire to be united with him is genuine, it can even bring about the same graces we would have received by actually receiving the Eucharist. If our vocation keeps us from daily Mass or if we’re already feeling like we’re losing that sensation of being close to Jesus, we’re invited to make a spiritual communion to renew our desire of becoming one with him. Below is a prayer of spiritual communion:
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.
In Ephesians 8 St. Paul writes, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I’m sure that includes toddlers, too.
Copyright Meg Matenaer 2015.
Photo by FantasyDesigns1 (2014) via Morguefile.