Friday, October 10, 2008

Communion of Saints....really?

I remember being in a dorm room hanging out with my then girlfriend (now wife), and having her try to explain to me this idea of the Communion of Saints. I just couldn't buy it. It is funny, but I don't actually remember learning about this during my 3 years at Catholic High School. They must have taught it, but I just don't remember it.

I guess I have always had a thought that the people that I loved, who had passed, were not really dead. Instead they lived on in heaven with God. I don't know where I get this tradition, maybe it has to do with my my upbringing.

So obviously, I did not have a problem with the idea that our dearly departed brothers and sisters in Christ, were not really dead. However, at the same time, it was only recently where I heard these words of Christ, anew:

But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the God of the dead but of the living."(Matthew 22:31-32)

And let us not forget about the Transfiguration:

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.(Matthew 17:1-3)

From this, I can assent that after we die, we are not completely dead. How do I know? Because Jesus said so.

However, the Catholic belief will take it even further than this. They actually believe that those who died in Christ, are actually in heaven, witnessing of our lives here on earth....

Let's continue with the dorm room conversation that I had one night with my soon to be bride. She actually broke out the Bible and showed me a reference in Scripture that proved her point.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us(Hebrews 12:1)

I told her that this is just referring to the Angels that are in heaven, and nothing more. Silly Catholic girl, who doesn't understand scriptures.

Fast forward to this past Thursday morning, I am reading through the book of Hebrews, and I come across this verse, except for this time, I see it in a whole different light. The reason why I saw this verse in a whole different light, is because I actually read the chapter before it. I should have known that whenever someone starts a sentence with "Therefore" they are actually referencing something that they were talking about bad.

If you read Hebrews 11, you will see that the author (who still is unknown) was referring to a whole bunch of people who had died before Christ. In other words, people who had died faithful to God. When the author says in Hebrews 12 Therefore...great cloud of witnesses, he is linking this list of saints of God to the great cloud of witnesses.

Wow....okay, I get it now. We are all connected. We are all baptized into one body and nothing will ever separate us from God's love.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.(Romans 8:38-39)

In addition to that, we will not be separated from each other. The physically dead in Christ, witness us, the physically living here on Earth run with perseverence the race marked out for us. Do you suppose that they will just be watching, or do you suppose that they will be praying for us as well?

Catholics believe that they will be praying for us. Why would they be doing that? Probably because they are in heaven, which means that they are in God's presence, and that is what Christians do - we pray to God for each other. If we are called to pray for each other here on Earth, how much more will we be praying for each other when we step on the other side of eternity?

However, if you are anything like me, you probably want to see some scripture to back it up. Am I right? In case I am, I found a great article titled Praying to the Saints. I can attempt to do this article justice, but I would rather let it speak for itself.

God Bless you all...

No comments: