What can I do if I can’t get to Mass
Make a Spiritual Communion
Spiritual Communion is the heartfelt desire to receive Our Lord, even when we are unable because of the distance or for some other reason. This desire to receive him through spiritual Communion is an act of love which prolongs our thanksgiving even when we are not in the Eucharistic presence of Our Lord. The wish to live constantly in his presence can be fuelled by acts of love and desire to be united with him and is a means of drawing more deeply from the life of the Holy Spirit dwelling within our souls in the state of grace.
‘The effects of a sacrament can be received by desire. Although in such a case the sacrament is not received physically … nevertheless the actual reception of the sacrament itself brings with it fuller effect than receiving it through desire alone’. (St Thomas Aquinas)
Here are two options for prayers you can say:
From St Aphonsus Liguori:
My Jesus, I believe that You are truly 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 being already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.
From St Thomas More:
I wish, my Lord, to receive You with the purity, humility and devotion with which your Most Holy Mother received You, with the spirit and fervour of the saints. Come Lord Jesus.
Give me, good Lord, a longing to be with You … give me warmth, delight and quickness in thinking upon You. And give me Your grace to long for Your holy sacraments, and specially to rejoice in the presence of Your very blessed Body, Sweet Saviour Christ, in the Holy Sacrament of the altar.
Source: A Simple Prayer Book, published by The Catholic Truth Society
Watch Mass live:
It may not be the same as being there, but if you can watch a Mass online it will help you to maintain your Sunday routine and to remind yourself that Sunday is the Lord’s day. Some options for watching Mass online:
Walsingham National Shrine of Our Lady: http://www.walsingham.org.uk/live-stream
www.wickfordcatholic.com – Parish of Our Lady of Good Counsel, Wickford have a live-stream of the Mass, please see their website for details.
www.churchservices.tv – live streaming from various churches from across the country
Read the Mass readings of the day.
Even when the world is business as usual, it’s important to read Sunday Mass readings ahead of time. If you can, try to spend some time meditating on them to discern what God might be trying to tell you through the readings. Lectio Divina is a great method of meditating on Scripture that was started by St Ignatius of Loyola and is something you might like to utilise when praying with the Sunday Gospel. Go to https://ocarm.org/en/lectio.
For the readings themselves, the Magnificat App is currently free to help all those unable to attend Mass. The UK edition is available on Android and on iOS. Editions for the US and in other languages are also available – such for Magnificat wherever you get your apps. Alternatively, find them online at Universalis. The Universalis app is a great purchase as it contains Mass readings, Lectio Divina, and the Divine Office in full. It costs £10.99 to buy. Available on Android and iOS.
Mark the Lord’s Day
When you’re housebound for weeks on end, or even if you’re no longer commuting, you may find it harder to notice that it’s a Sunday as it becomes just the same as every other day. It’s more important than ever then to mark the Sabbath. You might like to make an effort to wear your “Sunday best” even if you’re not leaving the house, or to have a day free from screens, pray the rosary together as a household, or something else. Perhaps, if your circumstances allow, you could make a special effort to do something nice for someone in self-isolation, whether that’s a relative or a neighbour.