What does Communion of Saints mean? The Communion of Saints means that all the faithful, who from one single Body in Jesus Christ, share in all the good that exists and is done in this same body, namely, in the universal Church. (Catechism of the Catholic Church 947)
Will Jesus Christ ever return visibly to this earth? Yes, Jesus Christ will return visibly to this earth to judge the living and the dead at the end of the world. (Catechism of the Catholic Church 671)
Do the blessed in heaven and the souls in purgatory form a part of the Communion of Saints? The blessed in heaven and the souls in purgatory do form a part of the Communion of Saints because they are joined to each other and with us by charity (love), because those in heaven intercede for us, and those in purgatory receive our assistance through our prayers (Catechism of the Catholic Church 956-958)
Why does it help to turn to the Saints when we pray? Saints are people who are aflame with the Holy Spirit; they keep God’s fire burning in the Church. Even during their earthly life, the saints prayed ardently, in a way that was contagious. When we are close to them, it is easy to pray. Of course, we never worship saints; we are allowed, though, to call on them in heaven, so that they may present petitions for us at the throne of God. (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2683-2684)
Around the great saints developed particular schools of SPIRITUALITY, which like the colors of the spectrum all point to the pure light of God. They all start with a fundamental element of the faith, so as to lead, in each case by a different gate, to the center of the faith and devotion to God. Thus Franciscan spirituality starts with poverty of spirit, Benedictine spirituality with the praise of God, and Ignatian spirituality with discernment and vocation. A spirituality to which someone feels attracted, depending on his personal character, is always a school of prayer.
What is the Soul? The soul is what makes every individual person a man: his spiritual life-principle and inmost being. The soul causes the material body to be a living human body. Through his soul, man is a creature who can say “I” and stand before God as an irreplaceable individual. (Catechism of the Catholic Church 362-365, 382)
Men are bodily and spiritual creatures. A man’s spirit is more than a function of his body and cannot be explained in terms of man’s material composition. Reason tells us that there must be a spiritual principle that is united with the body but not identical to it. We call it the “soul”. Although the soul’s existence cannot be “proved” scientifically, man cannot be understood as a spiritual or intellectual being without accepting this spiritual principle that transcends matter.
What is Purgatory? Purgatory, often imagined as a place, is actually a condition. Someone who dies in God’s grace (and therefore at peace with God and men) but who still needs purification before he can see God face to face is in purgatory. (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1030-1031)
When Peter had betrayed Jesus, the Lord turned around and looked at Peter: “And Peter went out and wept bitterly” a feeling like being in purgatory. Just such a purgatory probably awaits most of us at the moment of our death: the Lord looks at us full of love and we experience burning shame and painful remorse over our wicked or “merely” unloving behavior. Only after this purifying pain will we be capable of meeting his loving gaze in untroubled heavenly joy
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