By: Sr Mary Clare, O.C.D.
Hey, Philip, you’ll get a really good kick out of this hilarious incident that happened to me today … Catherine, look, I really need your help on this one, it’s a meeting with the City committee tasked with analyzing our proposal … John, I am really struggling to understand what our Lord is asking of me here, do you have time to talk?
They sound like opening lines to a conversation any one of us may have with any number of our friends … and, in fact, they are. These are topics that I would readily broach with those I know, love, and trust, and, most importantly, whose presence I enjoy sharing and whose input and feedback I value. What may come as a surprise is that none of these friends of mine are living on this earth today. They are all saints in heaven who have become real and dear friends of mine over time. Oh, I do have these conversations with my earthly friends, too, but there is a special closeness and perspective that my friendship with the saints brings to me.
Lumen Gentium states: “So it is that the union of the wayfarers with the brethren who sleep in the peace of Christ is in no way interrupted, but on the contrary, according to the constant faith of the Church, this union is reinforced by an exchange of spiritual goods.” Hebrews 12:1 also tells us: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.”
God delights in our fellowship and encouragement of one another. These are “spiritual goods” that do not end when we pass from this life to the next and, in fact, can transcend both space and time. God wants us to be close to the saints (and this is not just those who are canonized, but our own dearly beloved who died in the state of grace), because He wants us to have every help we can to come close to Him. I imagine this “cloud of witnesses” as all those who have gone before me with whom I have a God given affinity, who are now cheering me on in the race of sanctity, there to help me at any moment, as good friends are.
Today, may you recognize and allow yourself to be enveloped by this cloud of witnesses that loves you and surrounds you daily!