of saints and the kingdom of God
Communion of Saints
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. (Hebrews
and 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
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 Ghost.
The three divine bodies in the Holy Catholic Church are:
The Church Militant, the Church
Suffering, and the Church Triumphant.
as there are not three Gods, but three Persons in One 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 them.
The Church Triumphant
— these 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
This is the Holy Catholic Church: the Church
Militant, the Church Suffering, and the 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 the Kingdom!
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?
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!
Do not ask where it is. It is in your midst. You
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 await
Boston Catholic Journal
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