We know, or should understand, the term communion of saints as noted in the Catholic Church. The CCC # 954 states: The three states of the Church. “When the Lord comes in His glory, and all His angels with him, death will be no more and all things will be subject to him. But at the present time some of his disciples are pilgrims on earth. Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory, contemplating in full light God himself triune and one, exactly as he is.”
CCC # 956 The intercession of the saints. “Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness. They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus.
CCC # 958 Communion with the dead. “In full consciousness of this communion of the whole Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, the Church in its pilgrim members, from the earliest days of the Christian religion, has honored with great respect the memory of the dead; and because it is a holy and a wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins, she offers her suffrages for them. Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also making their intercession for us effective.”
When at Mass, during the moment during the Eucharistic Prayer, when we recognize and pray for those who have passed on, my thoughts lately have been a feeling that those we pray for, and even those we have forgotten in face, somehow appear with us. I know some might say I am conjuring up spirits in some abstract manner, as when people who use Ouija boards seem to conjure up evil spirits or demons. However, I do believe the connection between those of us here still living, and those who have stepped over are in some way connected, not just in prayer but in a very spiritual way as well.
As with demonic contraptions or fixations people using these items can conjure up demonic spirits. That is why since earliest times (see Lev. 19:31 and Deut. 18: 10) the Bible denounced sorcery and other forbidden practices as evil and depending on anti-God practices placing forbidden gods ahead of the One true God.
Spirits are real, especially those that are part of the Communion of Saints and our adherence to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. Constant use of the CCC should be adhered to and trust in the Fathers of our faith. We as Catholics do believe in the presence of the souls of those who have passed beyond our world and they are in God’s hands. However, there are instances when those who have passed on have been seen in visions or otherwise announcing some news or warning. My mother told me that some years after her father (my grandfather) died he appeared at the foot of her bed with the message: “Margaret, be careful, there will be trouble in the family.” Some time after that there was some trauma and upheaval in her side of the family. To be sure, we live in time and space with a new day always after the day before and await the future of tomorrow. In God’s world or realm there is no past or future and therefore the same for us once we have passed over. So, since everything exists in the present there would be no mystery that those on the other side already experience our future as their present existence. Hard to comprehend, but it makes sense.
Fear of the unknown should never concern us and we might think about welcoming that time when our mission is completed and the Lord calls us away from this life and into the life that really is being prepared for us by God. After all, rethinking the Baltimore Catechism; God made us to be with him in this world and to serve him in the next. The words may not be exactly as written but the meaning is the same. We serve Him here now and will worship and be happy with Him in the next. Then we shall be called upon to pray for those left behind and perhaps those will be urged to pray for our souls as well.
Purgatory makes sense since it isn’t pain as we understand it, but knowing that we were created to always be with God and because we might not be purified completely the longing to be with Him will be pain enough. It won’t last forever and the victory we will gain will forever be ours to share eternity with the Triune God.
Since writing this reflection I authored another reflection titled “Souls are waiting” wherein the thoughts of the Poor Souls in Purgatory, the Church Penitent, await for prayers from us on earth, the Church Militant, and those already in heaven, the Church Triumphant” in order to be released from their time away from God. I further penned some notes that in some way (at least for me) that when praying the rosary, one circle of the five decades is not enough for any one soul. So three would be the needed length of prayer. Not that three or any specific number of rosaries is enough to release one from Purgatory, but this was somehow revealed to me. I attempt to pray at least three a day and hope that my time will be shortened with another praying for my soul, wherever it may be found at the time of my earthly departure. Purgatory should never become an existence of fear, but like a bride being readied for the marriage and ensuring that every stain is completely cleared away to make ourselves perfect in the eyes of the Groom, Jesus Christ.