The hourly exmamination and the spiritual communion...Two essential elements for Radical Catholic Living
Living a Radical Catholic Life is all about constant watchfulness and renewal. We need to strive to live each moment totally for Jesus Christ. We can slowly claim every second of our lives for Christ but it takes a spirit of constant watchfulness.
There are two devotions in particular that I consider totally essential to winning this battle to live fully for Jesus Christ, the Hourly Examination and the Spiritual Communion.
The hourly examination of conscience was practiced by many saints because of its effectiveness in fighting against sin. Each hour you need to train yourself to take an account of your conduct during the last hour. At the beginning it helps to set a reminder. For example I had a reminder on my phone set for each hour. At the beginning of each hour I would take just a few minutes to take an account of my sins and failings. This gives us a great look at the sins that plague our life. It even helps to spend a day writing these sins down. We have to be methodical about ridding our life of sin. The hourly examination helps us greatly with this. The hourly examination can be easily accomplished by a quick review of the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes and finally an act of contrition.
The Spiritual Communion is a way to invite Jesus into your heart when you can’t receive Holy Communion. Often through out our day we need to invite Jesus into our heart. It is a source of constant renewal. It also is a major grace in the life of someone who is struggling with serious sin. We should constantly invite Jesus in to our heart. Each time He will claim more of us for himself until we are totally His. St. Alphonsus Ligouri was a great proponent of the Spiritual Communion. The following prayer was written by him and should be used often through out each day.
My Jesus, I believe that Thou art present in the Blessed Sacrament. I love Thee above all things and I desire Thee in my soul. Since I cannot now receive Thee sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As though thou wert already there, I embrace Thee and unite myself wholly to Thee; permit not that I should ever be separated from Thee.
The Hourly Examination and Spiritual Communion taken together become a powerful devotion resulting in the slow but sure conquering of sin and total surrender to Jesus. They are essential tools in our battle for total surrender.
Dave VanVickle is a Catholic speaker and writer focusing on the Universal Call to Holiness and Authentic Catholic Spirituality. He is currently employed as the Director of Evangelization for the parishes of the Catholic Community of Wexford, PA.