The awareness of being part of the communion of saints makes our hearts as wide as the world. The love with which we love is not just our love; it is the love of Jesus and his saints living in us. When the Spirit of Jesus lives in our hearts, all who have lived their lives in that Spirit live there too. Our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents; our teachers and their teachers; our pastors and their pastors; our spiritual guides and theirs - all the holy men and women who form that long line of love through history - are part of our hearts, where the Spirit of Jesus chooses to dwell.
Living a spiritual life makes our little, fearful hearts as wide as the universe, because the Spirit of Jesus dwelling within us embraces the whole of creation. Jesus is the Word, through whom the universe has been created. As Paul says: “In him were created all things in heaven and on earth: everything visible and everything invisible - all things were created through him and for him - in him all things hold together” (Col 1:16-17). Therefore when Jesus lives within us through his Spirit, our hearts embrace not only all people but all of creation. Love casts out all fear and gathers in all that belongs to God. Prayer, which is breathing with the Spirit of Jesus, leads us to this immense knowledge.
Belonging to the communion of saints means being connected with all people trans-formed by the Spirit of Jesus. This connection is deep and intimate. Those who have lived as brothers and sisters of Jesus continue to live within us, even though they have died, just as Jesus continues to live within us, even though he has died. We live our lives in memory of Jesus and the saints, and this memory is a real presence. Jesus and his saints are part of our most intimate and spiritual knowledge of God. They inspire us, guide us, encourage us, and give us hope.
The Church is one body. Paul writes, “We were baptised into one body in a single Spirit” (1 Cor 12:13). But this one body has many parts. As Paul says, “If they were all the same part, how could it be a body? As it is, the parts are many but the body is one” (1 Cor 12:19). Not everyone can be everything. Often we expect one member of the body to fulfil a task that belongs to others. But the hand cannot be asked to see nor the eye to hear. Together we are Christ’s body, each of us with a part to play in the whole (see 1 Cor 12:27). Let’s be grateful for our limited but real part in the body.