Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Communion of Saints

Of course, any discussion of community also reminds me that "I believe in the communion of saints." There is both an "already" and a "not yet" aspect to this and one holds both with a bit of tension. Folks who say the Apostle's Creed have, no doubt, a range of understanding of what this communion of saints means. The Catholic Church teaches, in the compendium:

194. What is the meaning of the “communion of saints”?

This expression indicates first of all the common sharing of all the members of the Church in holy things (sancta): the faith, the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, the charisms, and the other spiritual gifts. At the root of this communion is love which “does not seek its own interests” (1 Corinthians 13:5) but leads the faithful to “hold everything in common” (Acts 4:32), even to put one’s own material goods at the service of the most poor.

195. What else does “the communion of saints” mean?

This expression also refers to the communion between holy persons (sancti); that is, between those who by grace are united to the dead and risen Christ. Some are pilgrims on the earth; others, having passed from this life, are undergoing purification and are helped also by our prayers. Others already enjoy the glory of God and intercede for us. All of these together form in Christ one family, the Church, to the praise and glory of the Trinity.

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