Friday, April 22, 2022

Does the Communion of Saints Know Everything? 

We have a fascinating doctrine in the Catholic Church called the Communion of Saints. This means the people who have gone before us in faith are not hidden away in some distant heavenly zip code on the far side of the Universe. Instead, they are alive and well, and they are aware of our struggles here on earth.

The Bible describes this phenomenon and compares it to sports fans in a stadium cheering on the athletes as they compete on the field. The saints in Heaven are cheering us on as we struggle through the trials and tribulations of life. (See Hebrews 12:1.)
This is why we as Catholics don’t hesitate to ask the saints to intercede on our behalf. For example, we ask St. Anthony to help us find our missing car keys. We ask St. Joseph to help us sell our house. We ask St. Lefty McGillicuddy to help the Red Sox win the World Series.

Recently my mom passed away, and now I find that I’m a little leery of the Communion of Saints. My mother was a faithful Catholic, who put her trust in Jesus, so I’m confident she is now living in the freshman dorm on the beautiful Communion of Saints campus. But for the first time, I’ve begun to wonder how aware the saints really are. I know they are aware of our faith struggles, and they pray for us directly to God Almighty whenever we need help.

But are they aware of … everything? Has the Lord given them the supernatural ability to know our deepest thoughts and the secret emotions in our hearts? I’m not so sure I want my mom to know all that stuff about me. After all, I’m a typical guy. I started hiding things from my mother when I was, oh, about two years old. I remember one time when my mom yelled, “Billy! Who wrote on the wall with red markers?!” I turned on my innocent puppy dog eyes and shrugged my shoulders. “I dunno,” I said in an angelic voice, while slipping my hands into my pockets to hide the red stains on my fingers. In my case, I had a one-year-old younger brother. I didn’t directly implicate him, but when my mom looked at him suspiciously, I didn’t do anything to change her mind. By the way, if you are an only child, the innocent puppy dog eyes don’t work. You are always the one and only suspect.
Years later, when I was in college, it was the peak era of keeping secrets from my mom. I certainly did not want her to know which Commandments I was breaking on a regular basis, not to mention a slew of state and local narcotics laws. So, I told her what she wanted to hear, while being careful not to get arrested, and it worked out sort of okay. In our case, ignorance was bliss.

At this stage of my life, there’s not much that would embarrass me if my mom knew. (Yes, I am that boring now.) But still, I instinctively cringe at the idea of my mom being supernaturally aware of every selfish little thought that pops into my head or every nasty little comment I utter. It’s kind of odd that I’m so concerned about my mom being aware of my most intimate secrets. Ever since I became a Christian, I’ve understood that God Almighty knows every single detail of my life — every thought, word, and deed. That never bothered me because I know God is all-loving and all-forgiving. Here’s a simple question I have to ask myself: Who loves me almost as much as God? Answer: good ol’ Mom.
So, what’s there to worry about? My mother has joined the glorious Communion of Saints, and I should joyfully request that she does the wonderful job she’s been assigned in Heaven: pray for me to the Lord our God. And who knows? Maybe she can help me find my missing car keys and give the Red Sox a boost.

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