Friday, March 08, 2013

Rome is Where the Heart is: The Communion of Saints

The saints in Heaven literally are our friends in high places. You may remember in your Catholic upbringing being told to pray to a particular saint for a particular cause. If you lost something, St. Anthony of Padua was the saint you prayed to for helping in recovering that lost thing. If you were studying for a test or an upcoming exam, you might have prayed to St. Joseph of Cupertino or St. Thomas Aquinas. Whatever your intention is, there is a saint to call on to pray with you. 

“The intercession of the saints. ‘ Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness. . . . They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus . . . . So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped.’” – Catechism of the Catholic Church, par. 956 

The Bible tells us of those whom have been made complete and perfected through the salvific work of Jesus Christ, have entered Heaven and are fully united with God. There they pray constantly for us here on earth so that we too may join God in His perfect union. 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us” – Hebrews 12:1 

This “cloud of witnesses” that the inspired author of Hebrews speaks of are the saints in Heaven cheering us as we run to Christ to be crowned in Heavenly perfection. We are assured that the faithfully departed – the Church in Heaven – is never cut off or disinterested in the affairs of the Church on earth. 

“The witnesses who have preceded us into the kingdom, especially those whom the Church recognizes as saints, share in the living tradition of prayer by the example of their lives, the transmission of their writings, and their prayer today. They contemplate God, praise him and constantly care for those whom they have left on earth. When they entered into the joy of their Master, they were ‘put in charge of many things.’ Their intercession is their most exalted service to God's plan. We can and should ask them to intercede for us and for the whole world.” – Catechism of the Catholic Church, par. 2683 

“Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to him.” - Luke 20:38 

“And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” – Revelation 5:8 

The communion of saints help us, the faithful on earth, by praying for us for we are joined in one body, Christ’s body, and it is our joy in this body to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2) and to encourage and build up one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

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