Part 12 of this series talked about how we as a community have been praying for each other with the priest. Our sacrifices are now joined together in the one sacrifice of Jesus. But this unity does not stop there. The church is more than a bunch of people walking around on earth. The whole heavenly host with the church suffering is there at the Mass, worshiping our Savior.
The first Eucharistic prayer says, “In communion with those whose memory we venerate…” and then lists the 12 Apostles and some martyrs. The Eucharistic prayer goes back to the 300s. This part of the Mass is no exception. From ancient times Christians have relied upon the help of the saints. Some Christians confuse this with worship. It would make no sense to worship those who worship God because we would be worshipping creatures. We honor them as our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. They are family who has “won the race” as Paul would say. They are truly in our presence as we worship with them. We worship our Savior with those who have gone before us in death.
I encourage you to get to know these great people. In them you will find consolation. When we read the saints, we discover they were just like us. They had struggles and yet took courage in heroic virtue. It is easy to point to Jesus and say “that’s not fair! Your perfect and there is no way we can be perfect! We don’t stand a chance!” But the saints say something different. They relied on God’s grace, and they can teach us how. They can also intercede for us.
When we die, it will be just Jesus and you. But throughout our life, we have many people who can help us on the way. As the Big Book of AA says, we are “trudging our way to happy destiny”. But we do not do it alone. We do it with the help of each other. With the person next to us in the pew and those who have won the crown of victory. …