The Communion of Saints
The Church is
a family. The Church Militant (on earth), Church Suffering
(in Purgatory), and Church Triumphant (in Heaven) are not three divisions
of the Catholic Church, but are united in one family in the Communion of
Saints. The Communion of Saints is a communion of the living, not of the
dead. The Communion of Saints is the Church, CCC 946. The Church, then,
is 'The Holy People of GOD', and her members are called 'saints', CCC 823.
(CCC is the Catechism of the Catholic Church)
The Family of GOD was built up by GOD through the covenants
The first covenant GOD made with man is the one with Adam. This can
be seen as the marital covenant, the first step of a family organization.
The second covenant was made with Noah, and this can be seen as the household
covenant, since Noah and his family were the only ones who
were saved in the ark.
Next came the covenant with Abraham, or the tribal covenant. Abraham became
the patriarch of many families united into one 'tribe'.
Then came the covenant with Moses where the various tribes were united
into a national covenant.
After that came the Davidic covenant of the kingdom where there was
formed a national kingdom.
Lastly, the new covenant of Jesus Christ, was instituted, where all men
are united into one body, the body of Christ in an international world
wide family of GOD.
"I am the GOD of Abraham, and the GOD of Isaac, and
the GOD of Jacob.
I am not the GOD of the dead but of the living."
Mt 22:32, Mk 12:26-27
"And behold, two men were talking with Him. And these
were Moses and Elias, who, appearing in glory, spoke of His death, which
He was about to fulfill in Jerusalem."
Not only were these two Saints alive, but they spoke,
and they even spoke to Him about future happenings.
"And the tombs were opened, and many bodies of the
saints who had fallen asleep arose; and coming forth out of the tombs after
His resurrection, they came into the city and appeared to many."
Many who were dead, and now are alive, moved themselves and
appeared to others.
"In which also He went and preached to those spirits
that were in prison."
They were spirits, yet they lived, and He preached to them.
"And with the prayers of the saints there went up
before GOD from the
angels hand the smoke of the incense."
Clearly, the saints in heaven live.
"And the angel answered and said to her, "The
Holy Spirit shall come
upon you and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you...""
Here is an example of a heavenly being, archangel Gabriel,
speaking to a human being.
"For you are all children of GOD through faith in
"...but you have received a spirit of adoption as
sons, by virtue of which
we cry, 'Abba! Father!' The Spirit Himself gives testimony to our spirit
that we are sons of GOD."
"He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ
as His sons,
according to the purpose of His will."
"But to as many as received Him He gave the power
sons of GOD; to those who believe in His name."
"For as the body is one and has many members, and
all the members
of the body, many as they are, form one body (family),
so also is it with Christ."
"For in one Spirit we were all Baptized into one
body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether slaves or free; and we were all
given to drink of one
Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many."
"So we, the many, are one body in Christ, but severally
members one of another."
"That there may be no disunion in the body, but that
the members may
have care for one another. And if one member suffers anything, all members
suffer with it, or of one member glories, all the members rejoice with
"...there will be joy among the angels of GOD over
one sinner who repents." Lk 15:10.
"Rather are we to practice
the truth in love,
and to grow up in all things in Him who is the head, Christ."
Christ is the head of the body, the family.
"For from the whole body (being closely joined and
knit together through
every joint of the system according to the functioning in due measure of
each single part) derives its increase to the building up of itself in
"Therefore, you are now no longer strangers and foreigners,
but you are citizens with the saints and members of GOD's household; you
upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus Himself
as the chief cornerstone. In Him the whole structure is closely fitted
together and grows into a temple holy in the Lord; in Him you too are
being built together into a dwelling place for GOD in the Spirit."
We are citizens in the family of GOD.
"Now you are the body of Christ, member for member.
"Be you yourselves as living stones, built thereon
into a spiritual house,
a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to GOD through
"And GOD indeed has placed some in the Church, first
Apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers; after that miracles, then
gifts of healing,
services of help, power of administration, and the speaking of various
tongues. Are all Apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all
workers of miracles? Do all have the gift of healing? Do all speak with
tongues? Do all interpret?"
Family members have different skills.
"And He Himself gave some men as Apostles, and some
others again as evangelists, and others as pastors and teachers, in order
to perfect the saints for a work of ministry, for building up the body
"Now the multitude of the believers were of one heart
and one soul,
and not one of them said that anything he possessed was his own,
but they all had things in common."
"...one body and one Spirit, even as you were called
in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one Baptism; one GOD
and Father of all,
who is above all, and throughout all, and in us all."
Eph 4:4-6, CCC 946-962.
Written by Bob Stanley, September
The section regarding covenants is from a talk by Dr. Scott Hahn.
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