Called to communion with the entire community of saints

Sun, Nov 19th 2017 08:00 am
Called to Abundant Life Columnist

While many people lament the problems caused by the use of social media, there are countless pearls of wisdom that are shared every day on outlets such as Facebook and Twitter.  While often the platform for instant news, political rants and the need people have to put themselves out there, inspiration can also be found in cyberspace. A recent tweet by Pope Francis was an attention getter. The pope tweeted, "Our contagious joy must be our first testimony of the closeness and love of God."

Pope Francis' statement is a powerful one, as it interfaces with the month of November where the Church commemorates All Saints and All Souls Day. The ultimate destination of the baptized is union with God which brings eternal joy to the human soul. The greatest joy of human beings is life with God, meant to be experienced here on earth as well as in eternity. While it is not news that all are called to become saints, it is worthy to consider how we experience a foretaste of heaven right here on earth. We are designed to experience God's life and love, right here and right now. Nowhere is God nearer to us than at the Eucharistic Liturgy, where the entire communion of saints is present and where we receive the body and blood soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. The nearness to God and our loved ones at Mass is cause to rejoice.  

Every Mass is a powerful reminder of both God's imminence and transcendence, and the celebrations of this month including the Feasts of All Saints and All Souls as well as Thanksgiving, point to both of these realities. Each Eucharist is a taste of heaven, inviting us into communion with God, one another and all of our loved ones who have gone before us. The communion we experience at Mass is tangible and real as we listen to God's Word, and share in the Bread of Life. At the Eucharistic Liturgy, bread and wine become the real presence of Christ, and through this gift, God inexplicably and generously imparts grace, an unseen, yet ever-present gift.    

During this month, there is a greater awareness of the communion of saints to which all the baptized belong than at any other time of the year. The Church militant, those still striving for heaven and growing in their faith unites with the Church triumphant, all the saints living in God's glory in heaven, as well as the Church penitent, those holy souls who continue to atone for sin and await the fullness of God's presence.

The pain and grief we all feel from the loss of those we love can be comforted by the love and grace that God offers us at Mass. The souls of all those who have gone before us are present to us in a mystical and magnificent way joining us in praise and worship. Let us not only meet God at Mass, but also those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith. The glimpse of heaven we experience at Mass attunes us to the hope we have of one day being at the heavenly banquet with Christ and our loved ones.  

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