In today's world we are often confronted with the dilemma of the scarcity of priests, and therefore the difficulty of receiving the Sacraments.
We all know the laws of the Church include the following commands: to assist at Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of obligation; to confess our sins at least once a year, and to receive Holy Communion during the Easter season. How are we to do these things if there are not any priests nearby to give us the Sacraments?
It is obvious that there are not any true priests ordained in the Novus Ordo since 1968 (See THE SERAPH, Sept 1998, Vol. XIX No 1 page 8). The Novus Ordo has become a new Protestant religion and therefore is not Catholic. Those beautiful churches that were built by our Catholic forefathers are now in the hands of Heretics.
It is so tempting to rationalize the situation and say that "This is the church my parents went to; it is the church where I was baptized and received so many sacraments, and therefore this is where I must continue to go." We see the disparity and contradiction between what was and what is now, so we are tempted to make a compromise by saying: "I don't like it, but I have to go along with it, because the priest, bishop, and pope certainly know better than I do." Human instruments of Satan would have us violate our consciences in the name of "obedience".
These suggested arguments from Hell are filled with flaws if we will only clear our heads for a moment and set aside our sentimentalities. Every intelligent Catholic led by the grace of God knows that he must never violate his conscience. He knows that the building which once had the beautiful altar, windows, statues, etc. is not what is important and that these things were only the shell where the Sacraments were administered. Now that the Sacraments are no longer there it is nothing but an empty shell, no matter how beautiful it is or once was.
These places have become Protestant churches with Protestant ceremonies. (If you don't believe they are Protestant, just try to get them to reinstate the true ceremonies of the Catholic Church and see how loudly they protest.) Every Catholic knows that he must not participate in Protestant ceremonies, because by participating in them he is agreeing with them in their position against the true Church and therefore against God Himself.
So here we are left abandoned. The building which we went to every Sunday and received our Sacraments in is no longer a Catholic church, and we have no place else to go. What are we to do?
For a few of the most blessed, God has provided the Sacraments through a true Roman Catholic bishop (Bishop Louis Vezelis O.F.M.) and his priests. But, the majority of the true Catholics in this world are devoid of this tremendous blessing. This is most disheartening and demands an even greater faith on our part.
We must first of all realize that the true Roman Catholic Church is the Mystical Body of Christ. Every true Catholic is a member of this Mystical Body. When one member suffers the whole body suffers. For those of us who have the Sacraments, let us not forget to pray and offer our sacrifices for those who are less blessed. And for those of us who must suffer without these tremendous blessings, let us remember that we are united with these Sacraments and graces through our union with the Mystical Body.
There is a tremendous amount of beauty and wisdom in this Mystical Body of Christ for us to discover if we will only take the time to seek it out. How wondrous that when one member of the Body suffers the whole Body is united in the suffering and when one member rejoices the whole Body rejoices. And what is it that holds this Mystical Body together? It is Charity. We love one another as we love ourselves. And in doing so we are only loving ourselves for we are one. We see in each of the members of the Mystical Body a reflection of Christ Himself.
Love is an act of the will. The will or desire is the beginning of incorporation into the Mystical Body and it is the cement that holds it all together. The will is of such importance that Our Lord Himself will judge us according to it. He tells us that a man who lusts (desire) after a woman in his heart is already guilty of sin. Likewise the many other evil acts of the will (envy, jealousy, anger, etc.) are condemned. It is clearly seen that God will accept the desire for the deed. He even considers the acts of the will of more importance than the acts of the flesh. The flesh often falls due to weakness, inadvertence, or carelessness, but the will can offer no such excuse. That which is thought out and desired (premeditated) can offer no such excuse, and deserves the most sever punishment.
On the positive side, God will accept our good desires and intentions and reward us accordingly, even if we are through no fault of our own prevented from bringing our desires to fruition. That is why in our morning offering we form the intention to do all that we do today for the love of God, for the Poor Souls in Purgatory, etc. and we unite ourselves with the Sacrifice of the Mass wherever it is offered throughout the world today.
This is the important part: we can form the intention or desire to be united with the Sacrifice of the Mass wherever it is offered, even if we are unable to be physically present. And because God sees all things and knows all things, He sees and knows our desire and He will reward us for this desire. We therefore have a wondrous gift from God whereby we may receive tremendous graces.
When we have developed a strong love for Our Lord, we eagerly desire to receive Him in the Most Blessed Sacrament. The Saints often desired to go to Communion every day or many times during the day, but of course could not. They have taught us a wonderful means of receiving many graces from God, just by making use of the gift of our will, to unite ourselves with Him in Spiritual Communion.
"It is Our Lord Himself who excites this desire in the hearts of the faithful, and He also has provided the means of satisfying it. While He was yet on earth, He not only imparted many graces to those who were near Him, but He also wrought many miracles in behalf of those who were at a distance.
"In like manner, He now not only bestows many graces upon us when He actually enters our hearts in Holy Communion, but He also imparts many to us by means of Spiritual Communion. St. Catherine of Siena, while on one occasion assisting at the Mass of her confessor, St. Raymund, felt the most ardent desire to be united to Jesus Christ; but as she had been forbidden to communicate, she did not dare to receive. Our Lord, however, was so moved by the fervor of her love that He worked a miracle in her favor. At that part of the Mass in which the priest breaks the Sacred Host into three pieces, the smallest portion disappeared from the altar, flew through the air and rested upon the tongue of St. Catherine. St. Raymund was much disturbed at the disappearance of the particle, but the Saint relieved his anxiety by telling him that Our Lord Himself had been pleased to communicate her in reward for her great desire for Holy Communion.
"He displays a similar love towards everyone who has a true desire to be united to Him. As soon as a soul ardently desires to receive Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, He comes to satisfy her desire, not indeed as He did to St. Catherine under the Sacramental species, but by the way of Spiritual Communion. This devotion is so full of grace and consolation that it is of the greatest importance that everyone should know how to practice it.
"Spiritual Communion, according to St. Thomas, consists in an ardent desire to receive our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament. It is performed by making an act of faith in the presence of Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament, and then an act of love, and an act of contrition for having offended Him. The soul then invites Him to come and unite Himself to her and make her entirely His own; and lastly, she thanks Him as if she had really received Him sacramentally.
"The Spiritual Communion may be made in the following manner: `O my Jesus, I firmly believe that Thou art truly and really present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love Thee with my whole heart, and because I love Thee, I am sorry for having offended Thee. I long to possess Thee within my soul, but as I cannot now receive Thee sacramentally, come at least in spirit into my heart. I unite myself to Thee as if Thou wert already there; never let me be separated from Thee.' The graces which are bestowed in this way are so great that they may be likened to those which are imparted by an actual reception of the Sacrament." (The Blessed Eucharist, Fr. Michael Müller, C.S.S.R.)
What is true of Holy Communion is similarly true of the other Sacraments. God is everywhere and His grace is never far from us if we only form the desire.
In these difficult times let us always remember that we are not alone, no matter how physically isolated we may be from the Sacraments. As long as the true Sacrifice of the Mass is offered somewhere in this world we may spiritually attend Mass, and we may make Spiritual Communions.
Just as Our Lord told St. Paul so He says the same to us today, My grace is sufficient for thee. Remember our strength is in our weakness.
When we truly realize our misery and weakness then we will cry out to God, we will form holy desires and we will be strengthened, by His grace.
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