April 18, 2007 at 12:05 am #1632
Is there such a thing as spiritual communion? Say a person is in a hospital and in imminent state of dying and cannot speak or open his mouth to receive the host, can a priest give him this and would it be the same as receiving the host. Also what if this person has a mortal sin and one does not know this, will he still goto heaven?April 18, 2007 at 6:37 am #8024
Yes there is such a thing as spiritual communion. One who cannot recieve for one reason or another may make a spiritual communion. Suggested prayers for such can be found in most Catholic prayerbooks. As for the spiritual benefits, actual communion is the best way of receiving the graces of the sacrament but if one is unable to receive, such as a person in the hospital or in bed and communion cannot be brought to him or her, it is a laudable practice. While anyone, a priest or layman can assit someone who cannot receive communion either through reception of a consecrated host, or consecrated wine, one can encourage and even help someone to make a spiritual communion, by reminding them that they can, and if they are unsure how to do so by leading them in a suitable prayer to make a spiritual communion.
As for someone in mortal sin who is unable to confess his or her sins for a good reason, an act of perfect contrition, (sorrow for ones sins because they offend God) would suffice. It is also a good practice to in one’s daily prayer routine to at least daily express one’s sorrow for any sins we may commit throughout the day, asking God’s forgiveness, and for the graces to truly repent of our sins. While this does not remove the need for the sacrament of penance, (reconciliation) it does form good spiritual habits in our lives. Just as we can fall into habitual sins, we can also cultivate habitual grace in our lives. God will also not turn away from someone who makes a habitual effort to amend his or her life, and live according to His dictates. Just as one condition of the valid reception of forgiveness in the confessional is sorrow for ones sins, and the amendment to try and not sin in the future, God will not withold his forgiveness if we do not have access to a priest to recieve the sacramental absolution that he comissioned the Apostles with when Jesus told them “who’s sins you forgive, they are forgiven, who’s sins you retain they are retained.”April 18, 2007 at 11:56 pm #8025
dave: i don’t know about spiritual communion. as far as i know, however, even a drop from the chalice or a very small particle of the host would suffice and could be administered under virtually all circumstances. as to the mortal sin part, i think that if the person didn’t know it was a mortal sin, it would not be a mortal sin (at least subjectively). One condition for a sin to be a mortal sin requires “full consent” of the will and if the person didn’t know any better, there would not be full consent of the will. it does raise a very interesting question nonetheless: can one really not recognize that one has committed a mortal sin? perhaps there is always a still, small voice that would always tell one that wrong has been done, no matter how many rationalizations might be used to cover the reality. perhaps. perhaps. in any case the hypothetical individual that you site would have some “time” in purgatory. hope this helps. tom st. martinMay 22, 2007 at 5:21 am #8359
I always like to play it safe by going to confession.
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