Day 131: The Communion of the Church (954-962)
It’s Day 131!!
THE COMMUNION OF THE CHURCH OF HEAVEN AND EARTH
Paragraph 954 says, “The three states of the Church.”
THE CHURCH TRIUMPHANT in Heaven
THE CHURCH SUFFERING in Purgatory
THE CHURCH MILITANT here on Earth
Paragraph 954 says, “But at the present time some of his disciples are pilgrims on earth. Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory, contemplating ‘in full light, God himself triune and one, exactly as he is’...”
THIS IS SO INCREDIBLE!!
THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS IS THE CHURCH!!
WHICH IS BEAUTIFUL!!
WHICH IS POWERFUL!!
Because there are THREE STATES OF THE CHURCH there are also a number of actions we can highlight
Paragraph 956 says, “The intercession of the saints.”
THIS IS SO REMARKABLE!!
THE SAINTS IN HEAVEN ARE PRAYING FOR US!!
THEY ARE INTERCEDING ON OUR BEHALF!!
We believe that Jesus is the ONE MEDIATOR between God and man
Our brothers and sisters who are UNITED to that ONE MEDIATOR are INTERCEDING FOR US
St. Dominic says in Paragraph 956, “Do not weep, for I shall be more useful to you after my death and I shall help you then more effectively than during my life.” 🤯 🤯 🤯
HE IS UNITED WITH THE LORD AND PRAYS FOR US!!
St. Thérèse of Lisieux says in Paragraph 956, “I want to spend my heaven in doing good on earth.”
WHICH IS JUST BEAUTIFUL!!
James 5:16 says, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful indeed.”
So who is MORE RIGHTEOUS than those who are IN GOD’S PRESENCE
We even have an image in the Book of Revelation where the prayers of the SAINTS are going up before the Throne of the Lamb, before the Lord Himself
Those saints not only give God praise and glory
THEY ALSO INTERCEDE ON OUR BEHALF!!
WE ALSO HAVE COMMUNION WITH THOSE SAINTS!!
We are united with them EVEN MORE CLOSELY than maybe when they were alive at times
THIS IS SO GREAT!!
Paragraph 957 says, “Exactly as Christian communion among our fellow pilgrims brings us close to Christ, so our communion with the saints joins us to Christ, from whom as from its fountain and head issues all grace, and the life of the People of God itself.’”
WHICH IS BEAUTIFUL!!
We also have COMMUNION WITH THE DEAD
What does that mean?
It means we get to intercede ON BEHALF OF THOSE IN PURGATORY
Paragraph 958 says, “Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective.”
Paragraph 959 says, “In the one family of God.”
Let’s say a prayer!!
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven, we give you praise and glory. Thank you so much for this day. We ask you to please bless this time. Please unite us more closely to you. You are our Head, Jesus Christ. And we exist for you and for the praise of the Father forever. Give us your Holy Spirit to unite us more closely as one. As one communion of believers, as one Body of Christ on this earth. We make this prayer in the mighty name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen”
So there we have it!!
MAN!! (OH MAN!! 😉)
Paragraph 955 says, “‘So it is that the union of the wayfarers with the brethren who sleep in the peace of Christ is in no way interrupted, but on the contrary, according to the constant faith of the Church, this union is reinforced by an exchange of spiritual goods.’”
Our union with those who are journeying with us IS NOT INTERRUPTED WHEN THEY DIE
THEY PRAY FOR US!!
WE PRAY FOR THEM!!
WHICH IS SO AMAZING!!
THE INTERCESSION OF THE SAINTS IN HEAVEN
Why is this important?
We all have people in our lives who have gone before us
We all have people in our lives we know and some we don’t know who have loved us and followed after Jesus Christ
We sometimes wrongly believe that death has separated us in the most significant way
We HAVE been separated in a real way and that is why we MOURN and why we GRIEVE
We do not grieve as those who HAVE NO HOPE
BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT ALL THE DEAD IN CHRIST ARE ALIVE IN CHRIST!!
WE ARE STILL UNITED WITH THEM!!
Paragraph 956 says, “The intercession of saints. ‘Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness…They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merit which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus…”
So what does that mean?
The saints have written about this in so many powerful, beautiful, and convicting ways
In Heaven, EVERYONE IS ABSOLUTELY FULL OF GOD
YOU COULD NOT BE FULLER!!
Those great hearted saints who lived on this earth are not more full than the small hearted saints
THE CONTAINER IS LARGER!!
So think of St. Thérèse of Lisieux or St. Dominic we read about today
My little heart is like a THIMBLE
IN HEAVEN IT IS FULL OF THE LORD!!
St. Thérèse’s heart is like a 50 GALLON DRUM
She is FULL
She is NOT MORE FULL than me
She has the capacity to CONTAIN MORE OF GOD’S GLORY than I do
Because all I did on earth is grow a thimbleful of a heart
So what do they do in Heaven?
They proffer the merit which they acquired on earth through Jesus Christ
St. Thérèse said, “I want to spend my heaven in doing good on earth.”
On earth she said YES to the Lord so fully and consistently and heroically that her heart became MASSIVE
The merits on earth were down to being able to give God glory in an INCREDIBLE way in Heaven forever
We just want to get to Heaven
Yes, of course we do
In Heaven I want to be able to give God the absolute MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF GLORY
To be able to intercede for people on earth with the MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF EFFICACY through Jesus Christ
We do that by allowing the Lord to GROW OUR HEARTS here on earth
Paragraph 956 continues, “‘So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped.’”
WHICH IS INCREDIBLE!!
What could this mean in YOUR life?
It could mean that your mom or your dad who passed on before you…
Maybe even your child who passed on before you…
Who is with the Lord right now in Heaven
They are offering up their union with the Lord
They are interceding on your behalf
Their love is PERFECT now
Not only their love for God
BUT THEIR LOVE FOR YOU IS PERFECT NOW!!
So by their love for you, our weakness is greatly helped
Paragraph 957 says, “Communion with the saints. ‘It is not merely by the title of example that we cherish the memory of those in heaven; we seek, rather, that by this devotion to the exercise of fraternal charity the union of the whole Church in the Spirit may be strengthened. Exactly as Christian communion among our fellow pilgrims bring us closer to Christ, so our communion with the saints joins us to Christ…”
WHICH IS JUST INCREDIBLE!!
Paragraph 958 says, “Communion with the dead.”
We will talk about PURGATORY later on
2 Maccabees 12:46, “It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from their sins.”
We don’t just RECEIVE prayers from the saints in Heaven
We also OFFER our prayers for those souls in Purgatory who are being purified
Paragraph 958 continues, “Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective.” (WOW!! I did not know that praying for them helps the Holy Souls prayers for us!! 🤯 🤯 🤯)
MAN!! (OH MAN!! 😉)
THIS IS REMARKABLE!!
THIS IS INCREDIBLE!!
This is part of the gift of being part of God’s family
There might be a lot of people listening who are not Catholic
Maybe some of this talk about the Communion of Saints, Purgatory, etc. makes you hesitant
THIS IS YOUR FAMILY AS WELL!!
If you have been brought into Jesus Christ you have been brought into His Church
This is the REALITY that all those souls in Heaven are INTERCEDING ON YOUR BEHALF TOO!!
Especially when you are taking those next steps
When you are taking those next steps in getting closer and closer to the Lord by maybe entering into FULL COMMUNION WITH THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
The saints in Heaven
Your family and friends who belong to the Lord on earth
They are praying for YOU to take this next step
This is not meant to be manipulation
Here they are IN UNION WITH THE LORD
Here they are SEEING THINGS SO CLEARLY
THEY ARE PRAYING FOR YOU!!
What are they praying for?
They are praying that you have the FULLNESS OF THE FAITH IN THIS LIFE RIGHT NOW
That you do not have to wait until Heaven to experience THE FULLNESS OF FAITH
Right now on this earth all the saints are INTERCEDING FOR ALL OF US
They are beseeching our God and Father on our behalf
WE ARE SO GRATEFUL!!
Pray for the Souls in Purgatory!
“Father, eternal rest grant to them, O Lord. May perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. All you saints in Heaven, pray for every single one of us on this journey in the Catechism in a Year.”
We know the ONE MEDIATOR between God and man is Jesus Christ
By His one mediation all of us have been given a share in that work of mediation
We can participate in that work of mediation
We can participate in that work of intercession
Fr. Mike is praying FOR YOU!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike and for each other!!
I cannot WAIT to see you tomorrow!!
"Intercession of the Saints"
Notes compiled by Andrew Adamany
Catechism of the Catholic Church
956 The intercession of the saints. "Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness. . . . They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus . . . . So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped."
If you are new to the Catholic faith, or learning more about your Catholic faith in Christ, you may wonder why we ask the Saints to intercede for us when Paul wrote that we have one mediator in Christ Jesus, who intercedes for us:
"Is it Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us?" (Romans 8:34)
“For there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5)
If this is your thought, I invite you to consider this question:
Why does Paul, in the verses immediately before calling Jesus our one mediator between God and man, then encourage we offer intercessions for each other, when he also taught that we have Jesus in heaven interceding for us?
"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men,
for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way.
This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:1–4)
Really think about why. Not just because the Bible tells us to, because Paul taught it first before it was ever written in the Bible. Why is it good to God that we participate with Christ in making intercessions even though he can do it all himself?
Consider that it is because in baptism we become children of God, fellow heirs with Christ, participating in his divine Sonship with him in his One Body.
"but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, “Abba! Father!”
it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him." (Romans 8:15–17)
And we are not only members of Christ's body, but members of each other as well, and that we are not to say we have no need for other members of Christ's body.
"For as in one body we have many members, and all the members do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another." (Romans 12:4–5)
"As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”
On the contrary, the parts of the body which seem to be weaker are indispensable,
and those parts of the body which we think less honorable we invest with the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty,
which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior part,
that there may be no discord in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.
If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it." (1 Corinthians 12:20–27)
So if we are all members of one body in Christ, receiving his sonship as fellow heirs with him, and we have need of each other as members of his body, it follows that we are called to make intercessions for each other because we are to participate in Christ's ministry of interceding for us.
Should that participation stop at our physical death? Because even though members of Christ's body pass on through death Paul also taught that death cannot separate us from the love of God.
"For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38–39)
So even through death, God does not separate us from his love. If we are One Body, members of both Christ and each other in the Body, and death does not separate us from Christ– the head of the Body, why would he then separate his body from each other, no longer able to participate in Christ's love and intercession? Why would he not allow the members of the Body in eternal life in heaven to know what is happening with the members of the body in the earthly life, so that they may continue to pray for the other members of the body that need intercessions? James wrote in 5:16 that we are to pray for each other because the "prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects." Which members of the Body are more righteous than those in heaven?
THE OLD COVENANT: A SHADOW OF THE NEW
Some who have trouble accepting this pious tradition of praying for the saints’ intercession, may be because Ecclesiates 9:5 says “the dead know nothing.” But when the Sadducees asked Jesus about the resurrection of the dead, Jesus responded:
“have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living;" (Mark 12:26-17)
Here Jesus speaks of the Father's of the Old Covenant, long since decreased, their spirits dwelling in Sheol in the current moment. Yet even in Sheol, Jesus considers them alive by calling God "God of the living" because he is God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. If the spirit in Sheol were called alive, how much more alive then are the Spirits that dwell with God in heaven?
Think of Rachel in the Old Covenant. Even in death, her soul in Sheol, Jeremiah wrote that she was aware of Israel's doom and lamented over it. God heard her prayer of sorrow for Israel and granted her intercession for them.
"Thus says the Lord:
“A voice is heard in Ramah,
lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children;
she refuses to be comforted for her children,
because they are not.”
Thus says the Lord:
“Keep your voice from weeping,
and your eyes from tears;
for your work shall be rewarded,
says the Lord,
and they shall come back from the land of the enemy." (Jeremiah 31:15–16)
If Rachel, in death and in Sheol, can be aware of Israel's doom, lament over it, and have her prayer of sorrow granted by God for Israel in the Old Covenant, how much more so can the saints be able to make intercessions in the New superior Covenant, not from Sheol, but from Heaven?
SCRIPTURE AND THE SAINTS AWARENESS OF OUR PRAYERS
Hebrews attests to this when it says the the spirits of just men made perfect and the assembly of the first born enrolled in heaven are present with God and Jesus and the angels when we come before them in prayer and worship:
"But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel." (Hebrews 12:22–24)
Putting it all together, the members of the one Body in Christ in heaven are known to be present with Christ when we come before God in prayer. Since we have need of each member of the body, they belong to the body, and are made perfect in righteousness, making their prayer powerful in its effect, then why would we NOT ask for their intercessions?
Is it any wonder why John sees elders with the prayers of the saints:
"And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints." (Revelation 5:8)