Today we honour those holy men and women who have gone before us in faith and have done so in a glorious way. As we honour these great champions of faith, let’s reflect upon who they are and what role they continue to play in the life of the Church.
The Church Triumphant: Those who have gone before us and now share in the glories of Heaven, in the Beatific Vision, are not gone. Sure, we do not see them and we cannot necessarily hear them speak to us in the physical way they did while on Earth. But they are not gone at all. St. Thérèse of Lisieux said it best when she said, “I want to spend my Heaven doing good on Earth.”
The saints in Heaven are in full union with God and make up the Communion of Saints in Heaven, the Church Triumphant! What’s important to note, however, is that even though they are enjoying their eternal reward, they are still very much concerned about us.
The saints in Heaven are entrusted with the important task of intercession. Sure, God already knows all our needs and He could ask us to go directly to Him in our prayers. But the truth is that God wants to use the intercession, and therefore, the mediation of the saints in our lives. He uses them to bring our prayers to Him and, in return, to bring His grace to us. They become powerful intercessors for us and participators in God’s divine action in the world.
Why is this the case? Again, why doesn’t God just choose to deal with us directly rather than go through intermediaries? Because God wants all of us to share in His good work and to participate in His divine plan. It would be like a dad who buys a nice necklace for his wife. He shows it to his young children and they are excited about this gift. The mom comes in and the dad asks the children to bring the gift to her. Now the gift is from her husband but she will most likely thank her children first for their participation in giving this gift to her. The father wanted the children to be part of this giving and the mother wanted to make the children a part of her receiving and gratitude. So it is with God! God wants the saints to share in the distribution of His manifold gifts. And this act fills His heart with joy!
The saints also give us a model of holiness. The charity they lived on Earth lives on. The witness of their love and sacrifice was not just a one time act in history. Rather, charity is living and continues to have an effect for the good. Therefore, the charity and witness of the saints lives on and affects our lives. This charity in their lives creates a bond with us, a communion. It enables us to love them, admire them and want to follow their example. It is this, coupled with their continuing intercession, that establishes a powerful bond of love and union with us.
Lord, as the saints in Heaven adore You for eternity, I beg for their intercession. Saints of God, please come to my aide. Pray for me and bring to me the grace I need to live a holy life in imitation of your own lives. All saints of God, pray for us. Jesus, I trust in You.