By the Rev. Andrew C. Mead, Rhode Island Retired rector, St. Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, NYC
Let me share with you some things from the Book of Common Prayer, both 1979 and 1928 editions, concerning the issue of not being able physically to taste and touch the Sacrament of Holy Communion under the Forms of Bread and Wine:
Spiritual Communion When Unable Physically to Receive the Sacrament
From the Book of Common Prayer 1979, page 457: If a person desires to receive the Sacrament, but by reason of extreme sickness or physical disability, is unable to eat and drink the Bread and Wine, the Celebrant is to assure that person that all the benefits of Communion are received, even though the Sacrament is not received with the mouth.
From the Book of Common Prayer 1928, page 323: If a man, either by reason of extremity of sickness, or for want of warning in due time to the Minister, or by any other just impediment, do not receive the Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood, the Minister shall instruct him, that if he do truly repent him of his sins, and stedfastly believe that Jesus Christ hath suffered death upon the Cross for him, and shed his Blood for his redemption, earnestly remembering the benefits he hath thereby, and giving him hearty thanks therefor, he doth eat and drink the Body and Blood of our Saviour Christ profitably to his soul’s health, although he do not receive the Sacrament with his mouth.
The application of this principle of Spiritual Communion to our present situation of the highly contagious COVID 19 virus should bring us comfort. Most especially I commend the words of our Lord on this subject of his life-saving Body and Blood in the Gospel according to Saint John 6:25-71.
Faithfully yours, Fr. Andrew C. Mead
Born in Rochester, NY in 1946, Andrew Craig Mead received his BA from DePauw University and his MDiv from Yale University Divinity School. In 1974, the degree of MLitt (with a specialty in the Victorian period) was conferred upon Father Mead by Oxford University.
"Jesus knew what was coming (that he would be rejected and killed). The cross was his victory and his finest hour. In essence, he won by losing. He rose. Jesus proved that love conquers all. That's the message. I don't know any other message."