The Communion of Saints
from various sources
The Communion of Saints is the Spiritual
Solidarity which Binds-together the Faithful on Earth, the
Souls in Purgatory, and the
Saints in Heaven in the Organic Unity of the same
Mystical Body under Christ, its Head,
and in a Constant Interchange of Supernatural Offices. The Participants in that
Solidarity are called Saints by Reason of their
Destination and of their Partaking-of the Fruits of the
Redemption. The Damned are thus Excluded-from the
Communion of Saints.
The Living, even if they do not Belong-to the Body of the True Church,
Share-in it according to the Measure of their Union with Christ and with the
Soul of the Church. Saint Thomas teaches that
the Angels, though not Redeemed, enter the
Communion of Saints because they come-under Christ's
Power and Receive-of His Gratia Capitis.
The Solidarity itself implies a Variety of Inter-relations: within the Church
Militant, not only the Participation in the same Faith,
Sacraments, and Government, but also a Mutual Exchange of
Merits, and Satisfactions; between the
Church on Earth, on the one hand, and Purgatory and
Heaven on the other, Suffrages,
Invocation, Intercession, Veneration.
These Connotations belong here only in so far as they Integrate the Transcendent Idea of Spiritual
Solidarity between all the Children of God. Thus understood,
the Communion of Saints is Dogma (Apostles Creed),
commonly Taught and Accepted in the Church.
Pope Paul VI treats the Doctrine of the Communion of Saints
in an Instruction dated January 1, 1967:
By the Hidden and Kindly Mystery of God's
Will, a Supernatural Solidarity Reigns among
Men. A Consequence of this is that the Sin of
One (1) Person Harms other People, just
as One (1) Person's Holiness Helps others.
In this way Christian Believers Help each other to reach their Supernatural Destiny. We can see
Evidence of this Solidarity in the fact that Adam's Sin is
Passed-on through Propagation to all Men. But the Greatest and Most-perfect Source, Foundation and Example of this
Supernatural Solidarity is Christ Himself.
God has called us to Communion-with Him.
Indeed, Christ "Committed no Sin",
"Suffered for us", "Was Wounded for our Transgressions, He was Bruised for
our Iniquities ... and with His Stripes we are Healed".
Following in Christ's Steps, those who Believe in
Him have always tried to Help one another along the Path which Leads-to the Heavenly
Father, through Prayer, the Exchange-of Spiritual
Goods and Penitential Expiation. The more they have been Immersed-in the
Fervor-of Love, the more they have Imitated Christ
in His Sufferings. They have Carried their
Crosses to make Expiation for their own Sins
and the Sins of Others. They were Convinced that they could Help their Brothers to obtain
Salvation from God Who is the
Father of Mercies. This is the very Ancient Dogma called the
Communion of Saints. It means that the Life of each Individual Son of
God is Joined-in Christ, and through
Christ by a Wonderful Link to the Life of all his other Christian Brethren. Together they Form the
Supernatural Unity of Christ's Mystical Body so that, as it were, a
Single (1) Mystical Person is Formed (1Corinthians 12:12-13).
All who Belong-to Christ and are in Possession-of
His Spirit, combine to make One (1)
Church with a Cohesion that depends-on Him (cf. Ephesians 4:16). The Union
of the Living with their Brethren who have Fallen Asleep in
Christ is not Broken; the Church has rather Believed through the Ages that
it Gains Strength from the Sharing-of Spiritual Benefits.
The Great Intimacy of the Union of those in Heaven with Christ,
gives Extra Steadiness in Holiness to the Whole Church ...
and makes a Manifold Contribution to the Extension of Her Building (cf. 1Corinthians 12:12-27).
Now that they are Welcomed in their own Country and at Home with the Lord (cf. 2Corinthians 5:8),
Through Him, With
Him and In Him,
they Intercede Unremittingly with the Father on Our Behalf, Offering the
Merit they Acquired on Earth through Christ Jesus, the
One (1) and Only Mediator
between God and Man (cf. 1Timothy 2:5), when they were at
God's Service in all things, and in their Flesh were Completing what is
Lacking-in Christ's Afflictions for the Sake
of His Body, the Church (cf. Colossians 1:24).
Their Brotherly Care is the Greatest Help to our Weakness.
The Catholic Catechism on
"The Communion of Saints"
In the Communion of Saints, a Perennial Link of Charity exists
between the Faithful who have already reached their Heavenly Home, those who are Expiating their
Sins in Purgatory and those who are still Pilgrims on Earth.
Between them there is, too, an Abundant Exchange of all Good Things. In this Wonderful Exchange, the
Holiness of One Profits others, well beyond the Harm
that the Sin of One could cause Others. Thus Recourse-to the Communion of
Saints lets the Contrite Sinner be more Promptly and Efficaciously
Purified-of the Punishments for Sin.
We also call these Spiritual Goods of the Communion of Saints,
the Church's Treasury, which is not the Sum Total of the Material Goods which have Accumulated
during the Course of the Centuries. On the contrary, the Treasury
of the Church is the Infinite
(∞) Value, which can never be Exhausted,
which Christ's Merits have before God. They were Offered so that
the Whole of Mankind could be set-free from Sin, and Attain Communion with the
Father. In Christ, the Redeemer Himself, the
Satisfactions and Merits of his
Redemption, Exist and Find their Efficacy.
This Treasury includes as well the Prayers and
Good Works of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They are Truly Immense, Unfathomable, and even
Pristine in their Value before God. In the Treasury, too, are the
Prayers and Good Works of all the
Saints, all those who have Followed-in the Footsteps of Christ the
Lord and by His Grace have made their Lives Holy, and
Carried-out the Mission the Father Entrusted-to them. In this way, they Attained their own
Salvation and, at the same Time, Cooperated-in
Saving their Brothers in the Unity of the Mystical Body.
An Indulgence is Obtained-through the Church Who, by Virtue of
the Power of Binding and Loosing, granted
Her by Christ Jesus, Intervenes in Favor of Individual Christians and Opens for them the
Treasury of the Merits of Christ
and the Saints to obtain from the Father of Mercies the Remission-of
the Temporal Punishments due for their Sins. Thus the
Church does not want simply-to come to the Aid of these Christians, but also to spur them to
Works of Devotion, Penance, and Charity.
Since the Faithful Departed, now being Purified, are also Members
of the same Communion of Saints, one way we can Help them is to obtain
Indulgences for them, so that the Temporal Punishments due for their
Sins may be Remitted.
Every Good and Perfect Gift comes to us
from God. Often He uses Created Instruments
in giving us His Gifts. For example, He
Created each one of us through the Ministry of our Parents. He Heals us when we are
Sick through the Ministry of Doctors and Nurses.
He urges us to Pray for one another,
especially for our Fellow Members of the Body of Christ, the
Church. He is Pleased, when in
Humility, we ask another to Pray for us. This
Divine Economy is not Interrupted by Death. We ask our
Mother Mary and our Brothers and Sisters, the
Saints in Heaven, and the Angels --
especially our Personal Guardian Angels -- to Pray
for us. It is their Ministry to us.
Saints who have lived Exceptionally Virtuous Christian Lives are Held-up by the
Church as Models for our Imitation. These are the Canonized and Beatified
Saints to whom we pay Public Veneration. But we may also
Pray to anyone who we Hope is in Heaven to
Intercede-for us with God. We also Pray to
God and His Saints to Shorten the
Pains of Purgatory for our dear Departed,
that they may enter Heaven Sooner.
This enduring Communion of Saints is a Great and Necessary
Comfort and Source of Strength for those who have
Lost Loved Ones through Death.
Actually, because of this Christian Truth, no one need say that a
Departed Loved One is Gone. We are still in-Touch. We can find in the
Communion of Saints a Powerful Help in our
Ministry to His People.
We need our Saints. Maintaining Friendship
with them and the Angels Unites us more-Closely and more-Quickly to
Jesus and the Trinity, than Ignoring them does. They are
His Chosen Ministers in Tightening the Bond of
Union among us all.
I recommend Reading the Lives of the Saints. They are Attractive, and to know them is to Love
them and to Grow in Admiration and Praise for God Who has Glorified
Himself so Wonderfully in them.
Communion of Saints
by Father Pablo Straub
An Eight Minute Homily
Thought for Veterans
The Marine Corps Motto "Band of Brothers" typifies many
of the Qualities of the Church Militant's "Communion of Saints"
God wishes no Man to Fall to the