This article was co-written by my friend, Terry Burrows, and me. Terry is the associate director of catechesis for the Diocese of Monterey.
As we search for ways to stay connected to each other and our faith practices, many are taking advantage of watching Mass from home. We need to be attentive to the difference between watching and participating. There are several things you might want to consider.
- It is best to watch a live Mass rather than a recorded one. We know that God is out of time, but for us, to be present with one another in the moment in time is a priority.
- Consider making a prayer space, around the TV or computer. Use a purple cloth in Lent and a white cloth in the Easter season. Light candles, and place a crucifix there.
- Respond to the prayers and readings, as if you were present. Say “And with your Spirit” after the priest says, “The Lord be with you” After “The Word of the Lord” say, “Thanks be to God”, etc. Pray the Creed aloud. There are many resources available online during this time with Mass parts that you can access. One example is Give Us this Day, giveusthisday.org/digital
- Respond to the prayers of the faithful with “lord hear our prayer” and offer those prayers in your heart – enter into the prayer.
- Share the sign of peace at home, if you are able, with one another.
- Pray the Lord’s Prayer aloud together.
- Make a spiritual communion during the communion time of the Mass. There was a time in our history as church, that frequent reception of the Eucharist was not common practice. This is still the case in many parts of the world. Our fasting now also allows us to be in solidarity with others around the world who don’t have access to Mass, especially with the frequency that we do. Pray that Jesus come into your heart, by your desire, spiritually at that moment of the Mass. Here is one:
Prayer for 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 in 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.
Oración para la comunión espiritual
Creo, Jesús mío, que estás realmente presente en el Santísimo Sacramento del altar.
Te amo sobre todas las cosas y deseo ardientemente recibirte dentro de mi alma,
pero no pudiendo hacerlo sacramentalmente,
ven al menos espiritualmente a mi corazón.
Quédate conmigo y no permitas que me separe de ti.
- Share about the Mass together after Mass.
- What did you hear?
- What can you take that is helping you during this unique time?
What is the domestic church?
A Christian household “is a community of faith, hope, and charity; it assumes singular importance in the Church, as is evident in the New Testament.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2204)
A Christian home is “a community of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues and of Christian charity.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1666)The presence of Christ under the eucharistic species is unique, and it is painful for all of us to be deprived of that presence in this difficult time. But that does not mean Jesus is not present in other ways. Click To Tweet
Pope Francis had this to say about praying together as Christian households and families:
Do you pray together from time to time as a family? Some of you do, I know. But so many people say to me: But how can we? …But in the family how is this done? After all, prayer seems to be something personal, and besides there is never a good time, a moment of peace… Yes, all that is true enough, but it is also a matter of humility, of realizing that we need God… all of us! We need his help, his strength, his blessing, his mercy, his forgiveness. And we need simplicity to pray as a family: simplicity is necessary! Praying the Our Father together, around the table, is not something extraordinary: it’s easy. And praying the Rosary together, as a family, is very beautiful and a source of great strength! And also praying for one another!
The presence of Christ
Remember that when we pray as a domestic church, Christ is truly present. The church teaches that Christ is truly present:
- In the priest
- In the sacraments
- In God’s word
- In the church when we pray and sing
- Especially under the eucharistic species (See Constitution on the Liturgy, 7)
The presence of Christ under the eucharistic species is unique, and it is painful for all of us to be deprived of that presence in this difficult time. But that does not mean Jesus is not present in other ways. Specifically, when we gather as a domestic church to proclaim God’s word and pray together, Christ is truly present in our midst.
God is also present in our hearts, through our baptism or desire for baptism. Exercise your baptismal priesthood through your prayer at home, during this trying time.
See also these related articles:
- From word to action
- The four dangers of weak liturgy
- Why does good liturgy matter?
- Bulletin Shorts for the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
- Never lose hope
- Co-labor with God
- Bulletin Shorts for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
- Prepare for the coming of the Holy Spirit
- Celebrating liturgy in our homes
- Pastoral liturgists are “keepers of the fire”: The third level of liturgical participation