I am so thankful for the teaching of the communion of saints. Namely, that the communion of saints is the intimate union that exists among all the disciples of Christ. This communion is known as the Mystical Body of Christ: the Family of God consisting of the faithful on earth (the Church Militant or pilgrim Church), the holy souls in purgatory undergoing spiritual cleansing (the Church Suffering), and the saints in heaven (the Church Triumphant).
It is such a beautiful vision to see the body of Christ extend not only through this world, but through eternity. To know that the unity of Christians remains unbroken, even through the bonds of death.
Yesterday we celebrated the "Church Triumphant" ... all those peoples known (Saints with big "S") and unknown (saints with little "s") who are already in union with Christ in Heaven. Today, we celebrate the Feast of All Souls. This includes the "Church Suffering" - those that have died that may not yet be in heaven and those that are likely part of the "Church Triumphant".
I wanted to name a few that have gone before me that were significant in the example of their life.
My Uncle Leroy - he was my Dad's best friend and probably the only man I've ever known that could quite possibly out work my Dad. He had an infectious laugh and an insatiable love for popcorn... lent was always eternally long for him because he always gave up his nightly popcorn! He lived his life simply - worked hard and prayed harder. His biggest concern was that his boys wouldn't gain heaven and he prayed for them daily. He and I were Jessica's Godparents, a role I cherish having shared with him. His funeral was on New Years eve 1999 - I remember all the hoopla of Y2K and how insignificant it seemed after he died.
My Grandparents - Al and Caroline - I miss them nearly every day. Some of my fondest memories from growing up are visiting them on the "ranch" as Dad called it. My Grandpa farmed almost until his death at 92. My Grandma prayed a daily rosary for all of her granddaughters that God would lead them to the spouse He chose for them. After I met Carl, I knew that her prayers had been heard and am so thankful! Carl was actually introduced to most of my extended family at my Grandma's 90th birthday party. There was karaoke, and my cousins trying to embarrass him, signed him up to sing "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy". They made me sit in the middle of the room and he serenaded me. The laugh was on them, because they didn't realize how good he could sing. I remember my Grandma just laughing!!! She thought the whole thing was hysterical.
Jessica... I don't know what more to say that I haven't said. Her little soul was so incredibly beautiful, pure, simple, joyful. She will forever be my Goddaughter but now it is she that will be praying for me and my journey to Heaven.
Remembering how much of a blessing they were helps make the sorrow at their absence easier. I would rather have loved them and shared what time I did than to have never had the joy of their presence in my life. What souls are you remember or missing today?