The feast day of St. Alphonsus Liguori was celebrated this last week on Monday. To be honest I don't know much about him. I have read a few books and devotions that he has written such as the Complete Consecration to Mary and have dabbled in a few others. The day after his feast day I went to mass and then stayed for Eucharistic Adoration. On my way into the adoration chapel I grabbed a devotional at the door. As I started to page through it in the chapel in the presence of Jesus I loved what I was reading, it was so honest and so challenging to me. The small devotional were some writings by St. Alphonsus. As I left the chapel I struggled to decide if I should take the devotional with me or leave it there for someone else to experience his great wisdom and challenges. Since there was only 1 of the books left on the table I decided to leave it. I left and wished that I would have kept it to use again during adoration.
I went home, moved some stuff around in my bedroom and came across a few books that I had purchased earlier this summer. One was by Pope Benedict XVI and the other was by St. Alphonsus Liguori titled "Visits to the Blessed Sacrament", the full version of the book I was just reading, thank you Jesus. The book has 31 reflections on visits to the Blessed Sacrament, meant to be used for an entire month as one visits the Blessed Sacrament. Each day there is also a spiritual communion professed as well as a reflection called "visit to our Lady."
Today is my 5th visit using the book and it has helped me to be more spiritually and mentally present during my visits to the Blessed Sacrament. For the next month I want to share some of my favorite excerpts from the book here on my blog.
I want to start with the "instructional" of the book. Before the 1st visit there is a section on how to use the book. Directly before the 1st visit there are 3 writings that one will recite each day, they are titled; "Prayer before each visit", "Spiritual Communion", and "Prayer to Our Lady after each visit." Today I want to share the Spiritual Communion prayer. I have prayed the prayer before, but without any knowledge of what it meant, who started it, or why even do it. For the last 5 days I have prayed it slowly and lovingly. Here is the prayer: "My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already come, and I unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You." There are many graces that come from a spiritual communion as revealed by our Lord to Blessed Jane of the Cross when He told her that each time she communicated spiritually she received a grace of the same kind as the one that she received when she really received communion. Blessed Agatha of the Cross would visit Jesus 200 times a day. Father Peter Faber (the 1st companion of St. Ignatius) said that it (making spiritual communion) was of the highest usefulness to make Spiritual Communions in order to receive sacramental Communion well.
As I've read more I've realized how too often we as Catholics take this incredible gift for granted. This book is helping me to realize that gift, express thanks, and be more faithful to making a spiritual Communion daily. I'm going to stop here to head to church to make a Spiritual Communion before I receive Sacramental Communion. I look forward to sharing excerpts and nuggets of wisdom from St. Alphonsus Liguori this next month. God bless you.
St. Alphonsus Liguori, pray for us!