Monday, November 1, 2010

Archbishop Dolan on the Communion of Saints

(Image: Christ as the vine with many braches, cf. John 15:5.)
In honor of today’s Solemnity of All Saints, here is the most recent post from Archbishop Dolan’s blog, “The Gospel in the Digital Age.” Emphases, in bold, are mine.
The Greatest Family of All

If it were not so sad, it would only evoke the response of a yawn. I’m talking about the most recent Hollywood star who was “raised a Catholic” but now, as an “enlightened, liberated” adult, has shed his or her faith for some toney, exotic “New Age” movement. I watched her tell the talk-show host how she had left the faith of her family because it left her so “isolated” and “out of touch” with the cosmos. Seems her new religion is big on the “inherent harmony of the universe,” which provides a valuable sense of unity for her. She finds it provides her a real feeling of closeness to all of those who have gone before her and are now in eternity, and a union with all her brothers and sisters throughout the world who share her belief.

This is new? Was she home with the measles when the Catholic doctrine of the communion of saints was covered in her religion class? We Catholics have believed in this “inherent harmony of the universe” for two millennia, and at the heart of our faith is a sense of union with God, with the faithful departed, with the saints in heaven, and with all of our brothers and sisters in the Church throughout the world.

Of course, this wonderful doctrine of the communion of saints comes to mind these pleasant days of fall. November 1st is All Saints Day, as we praise God for all those citizens of heaven, all members of the “Church triumphant” who now reign with Christ the King in paradise. On November 2nd we observe All Souls Day, as we remember with reverence and gratitude those who have died, whether they are now with Jesus in heaven, or await their goal of heaven as they undergo a period of purification in purgatory, members of the “Church suffering,” who deserve our prayers. We on earth then comprise the “Church militant,” as we continue to persevere in grace, fighting the ancient enemies of sin, Satan, and selfishness.

Thus, we belong to the greatest family of all, the communion of saints, and are intimately united to all who share residence in the household of the faith. The limits of time and space fade away in this deep unity, and never do we feel alone or isolated. All creation is in harmony under Christ the King, whom we hail the last Sunday of this month of November.

I can only pray that our friend in Hollywood rediscovers this ancient doctrine of the Church, and that we of the “Church militant” use this upcoming month of November to honor the saints, pray for the dead, and savor the sense of communion with Christ the King and all His disciples which comes from belonging to the Church.

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