Praying with that Communion of SaintsNovember 23rd, 2012
I’m always delighted when babies are baptized during Sunday Mass, for any number of reasons. Chief among them – besides the chance to get a “baby fix” as my husband teasingly puts it- is singing the Litany of the Saints, and so getting a “saint fix” also.
I have to admit, the Litany always gives me chills – of the good type. I find it very cool to invoke the names of so many of the great men and women of our faith, and to ask for their prayers not only for this new child of God, but for all our sakes.
Several times this past month I’ve had the opportunity to lead a discussion about the saints – canonized or not. Last week this occurred at Sinclair Community College in Dayton as part of a presentation on Catholicism to a religion class. It happened to be All Saints Day, so of course I had to discuss these guys!
After dealing with the usual questions about idolatry, I chatted about how I find inspiration in some of the saints’ lives, and especially how the saints encourage me. Every time I get discouraged I just imagine St. Paul asking me “And WHAT did you expect, girl? An easy life of it, just because you said ‘yes’ to God once or twice?!” I hear Teresa of Avila reminding me that all I have to do is haul around boxes and tables and cookies, whereas she rode donkeys in the rain and got dumped in the mud! Inevitably, as they should, those kinds of thoughts pull me out of my self-pity and back into action.
I also always mention that one of my most loved aspects of this doctrine is our belief that somehow all those of faith who have ever been are present with us as the Communion of Saints, especially during the Eucharist. At that point we step outside the everyday world into kairos time, God’s time. I love to reflect upon how all those I have loved – my children, in-laws, friends and relatives- surround us as we celebrate together. It’s a pretty crowded place, no doubt!
Inevitably as I mention this, I see the eyes of those I am addressing focus inwardly. The room becomes very still; they too are recalling their own saints. I have to believe that at that moment we are, just as during Mass, surrounded by all those souls, who each are praying for us and holding us in love. The sense of connection just then, between people and across time, is almost tangible.
So, yep, I will continue to love that litany, and I will persist in praying with and laughing with my saints. And I know that someday someone will be remembering me when the Eucharist is celebrated. Then I too will be able to be present in prayer in God’s own special time and manner. In the meantime, and always, all you saints, pray for us!