Sanctification of Sunday
in Times of Crisis and Persecution
In these days when attendance at Mass is impossible for many of the faithful, remember that we must distinguish:
— The Command of God, which is general (You will sanctify the day of the Lord)
— And the Command of the Church which clarifies the command of God by obligating one to assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Normally, both are obligatory, under pain grave fault, on all baptized persons who have reached the age of reason, but circumstances can dispense one from the command of the Church (attendance at Mass) without this dispensing from the command of God.
When attendance at Mass is impossible, it is necessary to sanctify Sunday in another way, giving time to prayer and catholic instruction (at least the equivalent of a Low Sunday Mass, which normally includes a sermon).
One can, for this, read the texts of the Mass and pray a rosary (5 or 15 decades), if possible as a family.
It’s advised to make a spiritual communion (for that, one can read in the missal or in a prayer book the prayers before communion to excite in us a great desire for union with Our Lord, then we can read the prayers after communion).
St. Thomas Aquinas says: “the effect of the sacrament can be secured by every man if he receives it in desire, though not in reality. […] so likewise some eat this sacrament spiritually before they receive it sacramentally” (III q. 80, a. 1, ad. 3).
The Catechism of the Council of Trent says those “are said to receive the Eucharist in spirit only […] who, inflamed with a lively faith which worketh by charity (Gal. 5:6), partake in wish and desire of that celestial Bread offered to them”.
If it is difficult to get to confession as often as before, one should also arouse in his soul acts of perfect contrition, regretting our sins for the suffering they have caused to Our Lord during His Passion, and having the firm purpose to go to confession with a priest as soon as possible. The Way of the Cross (which you can do at home) is a great way to achieve this perfect contrition. Just kneel at each station, then get up to go to the next station.
These principles apply to Sundays and to Holy Days of obligation.
Prayers taken from the Mass in time of epidemic
O God, who wiliest not the death of the sinner but that he should repent: welcome with pardon Thy people’s return to Thee: and so long as they are faithful in Thy service, do Thou in Thy clemency withdraw the scourge of Thy wrath. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son…
Let the sacrifice which we now offer succor us, O Lord; may it wholly release us from sin and deliver us from all ruin and destruction. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son…
Graciously hear us, O God our Savior: deliver Thy people from the terrors of Thy wrath, and assure them of that safety which is the gift of Thy mercy. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son…