Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Communion of Saints pt1

The word in the Bible for “saint” or “saints” in the Greek texts can also be translated as “sanctified, consecrated” or “holy ones”.  It’s Paul who calls all his fellow believers “saints,” and not just the notably holy ones.  We see an example of this in Phillipians 4, verse 21 and 22.  It says: “Salute ye every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me salute you. All the saints salute you: especially they that are of Caesar's household.  Paul also uses the term for both those who are living and for those who are dead. We find this very clearly in 2 Thess 1:9-10 and also in Jude 14-15:

2 Thess 1says:

“These (who do not acknowledge God nor heed the good news) will pay the penalty of eternal ruin, separated from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power, when he comes to be glorified among his holy ones and to be marveled at on that day among all who have believed, for our testimony to you was believed.”

And Jude 14-15 says:

“Enoch, of the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied also about them when he said, ‘Behold, the Lord has come with his countless holy ones to execute judgment on all and to convict everyone for all the godless deeds that they committed…”

This practice of Paul corresponds to one of the earliest creedal statements of Christian faith: The Apostles Creed: “I believe in the communion of saints.”  Communion of saints refers to the bond of unity among all believers, both living and dead, who are or have been committed followers of Jesus Christ.  In the eyes of God, in eternity, the distinction between His People who are ‘living’ or who are ‘dead’ is not at all important.  This statement can be supported by the following Scripture verses:

Mk 9:4            “Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus.”

Mk 12:26-27   “As for the dead being raised, have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God told him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, (the) God of Isaac, and (the) God of Jacob’?  He is not God of the dead but of the living.  You are greatly misled.”
Rom 12:5        …so we, though many, are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another.

Rom 8:38-9     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.

This one body in Christ is called by the Catholic Church as The Mystical Body of Christ.  This concept, as seen in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, is explained as: “The life of each of God’s children is joined in Christ and through Christ in a wonderful way to the life of all the other Christian brethren in the supernatural unity of the Mystical Body of Christ, as in a single mystical person.” (par. 1474)

Since we are “members one of another,” we can, in Christ and only in Christ, seek the prayers and help of fellow members of the Body, both here and in Heaven.  Seeing as all believers as a whole make up the one body in Christ, we are all connected to each other with Christ at the head.

Luke 15:7 points to the fact that those in heaven (the saints and angels) are aware of the happenings here on earth since they would rejoice over one sinner who repents.  James Cardinal Gibbons explains it this way:

“ The angels [and saints] are glad whenever you repent of your sins.  Now, what is repentance?  It is a change of heart.  It is an interior operation of the will.  The saints, therefore, are acquainted –we know not how – not only with your actions and words, but even with your very thoughts.”  (Gibbons, The Faith of our Fathers, p.127)

Text adapted from:  www.catholic.com/tracts

But can they hear us?  More on this next week.

God Bless

Nathan

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