The Communion of Saints
And therefore we also having so great a cloud
of witnesses over our head, laying aside every
weight and sin which surrounds us, let us run
by patience to the fight proposed to us.
the Kingdom of God
are Three Divine Persons in One God – which we
call the Most Holy Trinity.
There are, as it were,
three bodies in One Church – which we call the One,
Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
This is not strange at all — since the Church is the Body
of Christ and reflects within itself the Trinitarian nature
of Him in Whom, through Whom, and for Whom it exists.
The Three Divine Persons in the Most Holy Trinity are, of
course: the Father, the Son, and the Holy
The three divine bodies in the Holy Catholic Church are:
the Church Suffering, and the Church Triumphant.
as there are not three Gods,
God, there are not
three Churches, but
three bodies in the
The Church Militant:
That’s us, here on earth,
battling sin, evil, all the darkness that surrounds
us — and lurks within us ...
The Church Suffering:
These are the souls in
Purgatory who have battled, won, and died ... but are,
as it were, scarred, still wounded, and cannot yet attain
to Heaven until the wounds are cleansed and healed,
the scars that mar the Imago Dei, the Image
of God, in which they were created in unspeakable beauty,
are transformed, like the wounded body of Christ Himself
on the Cross, into beauty, into glory, through the Resurrection,
upon which the gates of Heaven will be flung open to
The Church Triumphant:
are the souls in Heaven; they have conquered: the
world, sin, evil, and through Jesus Christ,
death itself! They have
“fought the good fight”,
“have finished the race”
and have acquired the
laurel of victory, of victory over sin and death. They
behold the face of God. Cleansed in the Blood of the
Lamb, of all stain of sin, they have been made the image
of God unmarred, and because they are spotless – they
can see God un-obscured. They have become “like unto
Him”. The image of God in which they were created, flawlessly
reflects Him by Whom they were created. They are one
with Him (although they are not Him).
This is the Holy Catholic Church:
Church Suffering, and
Church Triumphant one Church,
The members of whom — on earth, in Purgatory, in Heaven
— are the one Body, the Church ... inseparable
from each other. We all assist each other. We
pray for the souls of our dead who have yet to attain
the Kingdom — and they pray for us, awaiting
Those already in the Kingdom pray for both.
And we pray to them, asking their intercession
for us on our often long and painful journey. They hear
us, and yes, they help us. To place it in better perspective,
would you turn a deaf ear to, or step aside from,
your brother or your sister who in manifestly desperate
straits implored your help here on earth? Are the
Saints different beings from us?
Of course not! Neither do the the souls in Purgatory or
the Saints in Heaven remain indifferent to us when we cry
to them in our pain. As we are they once were.
Knowing our infirmity they pray for us, for the grace
that we need to endure suffering and trial, for the strength
we require when our own strength is depleted, for perseverance
in the face of violent persecution ... helping us, through
their intercession, to do what we cannot of ourselves alone.
Do you not see it now?
The Kingdom of Heaven is
within ... it is among you!
(c.f. Saint Luke 17.21)
Do not ask where it is. It is in your midst. You
“surrounded by a cloud of witnesses”,
seen and unseen, and they are, we are, all citizens of the
There is, however, one catch:
you have to surrender your passport to the world ... you
must trade it for the seal of the Lamb that will bring you
to your real and everlasting home: the hall of the King.
He Who has prepared a place for you ... and all who awaits
Boston Catholic Journal
Printable PDF Version
Comments? Write us:
Totally Faithful to the
Sacred Deposit of Faith entrusted to
the Holy See in Rome
opera tua ... quia modicum habes virtutem, et servasti
verbum Meum, nec non negasti Nomen Meum”
know your works ... that you have but little power,
and yet you have kept My word, and have not denied
Copyright © 2004 - 2023 Boston Catholic
Journal. All rights reserved. Unless otherwise stated,
permission is granted by the Boston Catholic Journal
for the copying and distribution of the articles
and audio files under the following conditions:
No additions, deletions, or changes are to be made
to the text or audio files in any way, and the copies
may not be sold for a profit. In the reproduction,
in any format of any image, graphic, text, or audio
file, attribution must be given to the Boston Catholic