Monday, November 02, 2009

The Communion of Saints

Yesterday and today, the Church celebrates two great feasts of the communion of saints: All Saints and All Souls day. They're like two faces of the same coin. All of the saints are those who have gone before us and now rejoice in God. The holy souls are those who have passed from this life but are undergoing a purification before entering into the fullness of joy.

The Catholic Church teaches that by our prayers, especially through the Mass, we can help those who are being purified. This is the reason why we offer Mass intentions for the deceased. Purgatory is more of a state than a place, as Pope John Paul said a few years ago in his general audience on the subject. The doctrine of purgatory gives us a consoling message. If we die without having reached the degree of love that God calls us to, we can get there through God's own loving action in our souls. That's really what purgatory is all about: finally learning to love as God loves. And when we reach it, we'll pass into the happiness of heaven.

2 comments:

Sr Margaret Kerry fsp said...

here is Pope Benedict's take:

All Saints Day: The communion of saints "is a reality that gives a different dimension to all of our life. We are not alone! We are part of a spiritual 'company' in which profound solidarity reigns. The good of each individual brings advantage to everyone and, vice versa, shared happiness irradiates upon individuals. This is a mystery which, in some way, we can already experience in this world, in the family, in friendship, and especially in the spiritual community of the Church".


All Souls Day: "Live this moment in an authentic Christian spirit; in other words, in the light that comes from the Paschal mystery. Christ died and rose again, opening our way to the house of the Father, the Kingdom of life and peace. As you visit cemeteries, let us remember that only the mortal remains of our loved ones lie there in the tombs awaiting the final resurrection. Their souls - as Scripture says - are already 'in the hands of God'. And so the most appropriate and effective way to honour them is to pray for them, offering acts of faith, hope and charity".

Benedict XVI

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