Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Communion of Saints

I believe... in the communion of saints

The Communion of Saints; what is that? Some would imagine it means that all Christians are one body in Christ. It does mean that, but it also means more. It refers to the idea that all Christians, whether alive on this earth, being purified in purgatory, or alive in the presence of God in heaven, are one body in Christ. It means that we are partakers, or sharers, in Christ, and, by extension, all other Christians. We are one in Christ and one with each other.

Just as a body shares all of its resources with each of its members, so it is with the body of Christ as well. Prayers and merits of the saints benefit those of us still in our earthly pilgrimage, as well as those in purgatory. Our prayers and sacrifices here on earth can be of help to those in purgatory. And even those in purgatory can help those of us here on earth. This is what we mean by the Communion of Saints. It is this ongoing flow of grace between all the members of Christ's body.

The doctrine of the Communion of Saints brings us much comfort. We can still communicate with our loved ones who have died in the Lord. We can pray for them. And they can pray for us. So many things continue unbroken.

This doctrine is also a reminder of our call to live in holiness. It give us pause to ponder our state. Are we in a state of grace? Are we striving to live as saints? Do we take the time to ponder what our sins truly deserve and how we can demonstrate our repentance? Are we living a life of prayer?

The Communion of the Saints also provides inspiration. For we are helped by the prayers of the Saints. Those heroic men and women who died in such sanctity in Christ our at our side helping us in our own spiritual warfare. They are our friends and aides. They are our cheerleaders and benefactors. It is with great thanks that we realize that we do not fight this fight of faith on our own, but we are assisted by numerous saints and angels in the process.

Most prominent among the saints is the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of our Lord and our mother in faith. She is ever faithful in her prayers for us and a most effective intercessor as God has granted her the place of Queen of heaven. In addition, we have the help of our guardian angels, patron saints, and all the rest of the heavenly family.

The Communion of Saints reminds us that we have not only been converted to Christ, but we have also been made part of His Church. In Him, we enter into this wonderful Communion. Through Him, and through their prayers, we are made fit for heaven. This world and all that we see and know is only part of the picture. What is not seen is just as real and powerful. We are striving for a kingdom that is unseen. There we will have our eternal reward. Thanks be to God!


Lin said...

Oh Keith! This is breathtaking. Of course you are aware of the struggles I've been going through with related issues. I realize now part of my problem is that I just don't really understand the depth and fullness of "The Communion of Saints". Thank you dear friend for all your posts.

Ahhh... it can be a difficult journey at times can't it?

Joni said...

To me, this is one of the most beautiful teachings of the Church. It fills me with such joy, and also gives me great hope!