The Communion of Saints

The Communion of Saints

WHAT CAN IT MEAN FOR SAINTS ON EARTH to be “in communion” with saints who have died and gone to heaven or purgatory? The life of the departed, at least for now, is purely spiritual. We, on the other hand, have a spiritual life, as they do, but we also have a bodily life that can dominate our consciousness.

We appear to be living very different sorts of lives, and this fact raises some practical questions about how “saints” relate to one another in God’s great communion.

[A]ll those saints are—right now—intensely aware of events on the planet earth. More than that, they are intensely involved in those events, and in communication with the “saints” still on earth: the Christians in the churches…. They surround us now, and they are watching us, aware of us. Hebrews 12 depicts a liturgical assembly—a congregation at Mass—and that is where we know the presence of the saints in a powerful way, since the Mass is the act of worship that unites the hosts of heaven with the Church on earth…. They are pleading with God for those who remain on earth…. They have concern, and they express their concerns, like children before a loving Father…. Their prayers, not surprisingly, are answered.

We believe in the Communion of Saints. Communion is impossible without communication. So we pray for one another. We ask prayers of one another. Nor must death shut us off in silence from the people we love—the saints we love. Through God’s mercy, we may hope that many of our beloved are enrolled with that heavenly multitude.

We were made to live in the Communion of Saints. It’s our nature to live in relationships…or a life is not fully human. God made us that way…. It’s our sorrow that we must part from those we love. Yet it’s our faith that relationships need not end.

Scott Hahn, Angels and Saints (New York: Image, 2014) Pages 55, 59, 60, 63. Used with permission.