VATICAN CITY — In his Wednesday general audience, Pope Francis continued his reflections on the Creed and focused on the centrality of the communion of saints in the faith and how that communion embraces and purifies the Church.
“The love of God,” Pope Francis told thousands gathered in St. Peter's Square on Oct. 30 for his weekly address, “scorches our selfishness, judgments and divisions.”
Among the pilgrims present at the audience were groups and individuals from England, Wales, Ireland, Denmark, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Vietnam, the United States, Argentina, El Salvador and Mexico.
The Pope opened his remarks by saying, “Dear brothers and sisters, today I want to talk about a very beautiful reality of our faith: ‘the communion of the saints.’”
The Holy Father said the expression has two different, yet related meanings — the first being a communion in “holy things” and the second a communion “between holy people,” as stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
“The communion of saints is the deepest reality of the Church,” he said, adding that the second connotation “reminds us that there is a communion of life between those of us who believe in Christ.”
Through baptism, the Pope said, “we have incorporated ourselves” in Christ and in the Church and have been made “sharers in the communion of life and love which is the Blessed Trinity” and “are united to one another in the body of Christ.”
Reflecting on the unity of the Trinity, Pope Francis said, “The relationship between Jesus and the Father is the ‘womb’ of the link between Christians.”
“If we are rooted in that womb, in this burning fire of love which is the Trinity, we can become able to possess one heart alone and one soul alone, because the love of God scorches our selfishness, judgments and divisions,” he said.
The Holy Father then used the analogy of a big family to describe the dynamic of the communion of saints, saying that Christians should help one another and that, “through this fraternal communion, we draw nearer to God, and we are called to support one another spiritually.”
He then challenged those present, encouraging them to ask themselves, “Do we know how to share the uncertainties of our itineraries of faith, looking for fraternal help in prayer and spiritual comfort? Are we available to listen and help all those who ask for it?”
The communion of saints, he said, “thanks to the resurrection of Jesus, establishes a deep and indissoluble link between those who are pilgrims on earth, the souls of purgatory and those who enjoy celestial bliss.”
It is to the saints in heaven, he said, that Christians must “unite ourselves as a Church, which finds the highest form of solidarity in the prayer of intercession.” Pope Francis highlighted how the upcoming feasts of All Saints (Nov. 1) and of All Souls (Nov. 2) are both an example and opportunity to ask for assistance from those seated with God in heaven.
“As we rejoice in this great mystery,” he said, “let us ask the Lord to draw us ever closer to him and to all our brothers and sisters in the Church.”