Friday, January 15, 2010

Communion of Saints

This striking photo of one of the historic above-ground cemeteries in New Orleans is a vivid reminder of those who have gone before us, especially of those who have died believing in the promise of the resurrection. (Take note of the 5 crosses embellishing the crypts, all obviously very old, that are visible in the photo.) The above-ground burial "houses" strike me as tangible reminders of "the mansion", "the place prepared" for each of us who believe in Jesus, the Christ, our Forerunner, (Hebrews 6:18-20) Who first conquered "the last enemy", death, through the power of His Cross and Resurrection. (See John 14: 1-6 and Hebrews 2: 9-15, especially verses 14-15).
Try to imagine that place, that state of being, where no rust corrupts our dwelling-place, the eternal City, our real Home, the place for which our spirits long throughout our lives on this temporal and transient plane. It is there that those we have known and loved in this life who have gone before us, who have died in faith, are more fully alive and whole than ever they were on this earth! It is there that they now "know as {they} are known". (See 1 John:3:3-4a.) If those who have gone before us are now more "real", more fully alive, and seeing reality from the perspective of eternity and life in God's Presence (the Beatific Vision, in theological terms), how much more clearly must they "see" us and our lives and circumstances as we live them out in time, in this brief moment of eternity that are our earthly lives?
Are you a Christian who professes a belief in "the communion of saints"? I hold strongly to this belief and envision the power of the Church Militant (those alive in physical bodies today) and the Church Triumphant (those who have gone before us in faith and now dwell in God's Presence) united in prayer that God's "will be done on earth as it is in Heaven". How eager I am to ask those I live and work with to "pray for me" as we seek to discern and live out His will in our daily lives! I find myself even more eager ask those who see our lives from the perspective of eternity and live in God's Presence as our "great cloud of witnesses" to pray for me!

Note regarding the above post: I've been asked by some of my Protestant brothers and sisters why (or how can) Catholics pray to Mary or to other saints in heaven? The above is, in part, what I would want to say to them.

Scriptures Cited in This Post:

John 14:1-6: Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in Me. (1) In My Father's house there are many mansions. If not, I would have told you: because I go to prepare a place for you. (2) And if I shall go, and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and will take you to Myself, that where I am, you also may be. (3) And whither I go you know, and the way you know. (4) Thomas saith to Him: Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? (5) Jesus saith to him: I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No man cometh to the Father except by Me. (6)

Hebrews 2:9-15: But we see Jesus, Who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour: that, through the grace of God, He might taste death for all. (9) For it became Him, for Whom are all things, Who had brought many children into glory, to perfect the Author of their salvation, by His Passion. (10) For both He that sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified, are all of one. For which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, (11) I will declare Thy Name to my brethren; in the midst of the church, will I praise Thee. (12) And again: Behold I and my children, whom God hath given me. (13) Therefore, because the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself, in like manner, hath been partaker of the same; that, through death, He might destroy him who had the empire (power) of death, that is to say, the devil; (14) And might deliver them, who through the fear of death were all their lifetime subject to servitude. (15)

Hebrews 6:18-20: That by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have the strongest comfort, who have fled for refuge to hold fast the hope set before us. (18) Which we have as an anchor of the soul, sure and firm, and which entereth in even within the veil; (19) Where the Forerunner, Jesus, is entered for us, made a High Priest forever according to the order of Melchisedech. (20)

I John 3:3-4a: Dearly beloved, we are now the sons of God, and it hath not yet appeared what we shall be. We know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like to Him; because we shall see Him as He is. (3) And every one that hath this hope in Him sanctifieth himself, .... (4)

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