Why Communion of Saints

I have found generally apologetics to consist of answering the “what” questions, which is usually after making an initial shift in the claim. eg. You Catholics worship Mary. The apologetics then becomes “what” in fact Catholics believe. It shifts the “what” worship to the “what” venerate. It becomes the “what” no it doesn’t take our focus off Jesus Christ, it becomes the “what” it focuses us on Jesus Christ.

With that background I would like to hear some thoughts on the more important “why” and “how” questions of the “Communion of Saints”. Why it is important to us, why it is important to them, why it is important to God? Why do we care? Why would they care? Why does God care? How it affects our lifes our faith? How this communion benefits?

Revelation chapter 5, verse 8

Could you expand further on the “why” and “how”?

It’s funny as a protestant we recited the same creeds, claimed we believed in the communion of saints, yet did not have a Catholic understanding of it.

We thought of it as the living saints here on earth…a abstract body of believers which made up the church.

Never really considered that by excluding the departed saints, we actually divide the Body of Christ. And that is bad theology, even though we did not realize it. We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses HEB 12:1

Now I have a correct understanding of it and I feels fantastic. I pray for the departed in Christ, I ask the blessed Mother to pray for me and I feel a strong connection to the Body.

And somehow, maybe inadvertently, I feel the need to be in Church every Sunday. If I’m not and do not do my duty as a Christian to pray for both the living and the departed, it feels as though it effects the entire body negatively.

This is spiritual yet you can feel the love; it is tangible.

Sorry OP, this is probably not what you were looking for, but I love the topic as a newer Catholic I feel like this is so imperative towards our walk with Christ. He prayed for Unity in John 17 and in the Catholic Church we are striving for that.

My friend, that is just the sort of thing I am looking for. Thanks. I hope others can add their experience and understanding too.

Maybe because believers are instructed to love one another and pray for one another. I don’t see where believers are released from that instruction at death. That means we have people unencumbered by the things of this world to pray for us.

why it is important to them,

Maybe because they love us and want us to achieve salvation. Just like people pray for each other while on earth for the same reasons.

why it is important to God?

Maybe because God sees us as His family. Families love one another and pray for each other.

Why do we care?

Maybe for the same reason we care if anyone loves and prays for us here on earth.

Why would they care?

Being brothers and sisters united to Christ unites us all to each other. (Vine and branches, Head and Body, etc.) I think this idea is not just a nice notion that sounds kindof neat…but a reality. It is a reality. We are a family. Families care about each other.

Why does God care?

Maybe because He is the Father of this family. Just like a parent on earth loves it when children of the family love and care for each other…He does too. One of the best ways to show love for Him…is by loving others.

How it affects our lifes our faith?

Maybe we are more supported, more loved, more prayed for, etc than otherwise?

How this communion benefits?

Maybe more people praying to God on a person’s behalf matters?

Thank you for this post. You have brought out some very important very beautiful themes. Love, compassionate caring, and the intimate relationship in the family of God, with the ultimate goal of salvation and inclusion in heaven, centered around God.

We participate in the communion of the saints because that’s the way God set things up.

God gave us the most perfect and beautiful plan for our salvation. If there were a more perfect or more beautiful plan then God would have given it to us. The communion of the saints is part of that.

Covenants form family bonds. We are in a covenant relationship with God and with each other. Our family members don’t cease to be part of our family just because they died physically. We believe we will see our family again and be united with them again.


Try this:


From a Jewish view, the roots of communion of saints:


This link, I think gives you the viewpoint you may be looking for:


As St. Thomas explains, anyone who sees the face of God sees also in God all things pertaining to himself, through God. The petitions of the members of the Church militant, pertain to the saints in heaven. And for this reason they see these petitions supernaturally, through the Beatific Vision. Notice also in the selection from St. Thomas that he points out that “it pertains to their glory that they assist the needy for their salvation.” God doesn’t need the saints to intercede for us. He has given them a great gift, in allowing them to participate in this glorious way, in His work of redemption.
Because God is love, He does not do everything Himself. He created us, and gave us real causal powers. So, He doesn’t operate by the principle, “If I can do it, then there is no point in having anyone else do it.” He works by love, which is the very opposite of such egoism, because by love He gives to us the dignity of participation in His glorious activity. This is what we mean in speaking of His love as self-effusive. Strictly speaking, God did not need to give us causal powers of any sort. God could have done everything, entirely, Himself. He loves to give to us the opportunity to participate as real [secondary] causes in His work. That’s one of the gifts He has given to the saints in heaven, by allowing them to be genuine intercessors on our behalf.

Being a convert I grew up thinking there was no communion with the Saints and when people died they had no knowledge of what was happening on earth, based on the logic that there is no sadness in heaven. This was something I accepted because it was what I was taught but I never could fully reconcile with it.

As a Catholic I know this to be false for the following reasons:

  • Moses and Elijah were with Christ at the transfiguration
  • Revelations 8:4
  • The Holy Mother at Fatima & Lourdes
  • My own personally relationship with particular saints

To me it is all about unity and connection. It is a mystery of faith how we are connected to God, the Saints, Angels and our fellow believers in more ways then we could ever conceive. The bible tells us He knows the number of hairs on our head (I’m doing my best to make that easier for Him), God is that connected to us. If He is that connected to us just think how much more He is connected to the Saints and Angels that are in his presence.

Through God we are all unified through prayer and the Mass. It is only natural through that connection that we would love and pray for each other. God cares because the closer we are, the more connected we are and the stronger we are as a unified body.

That’s my take.

You are welcome. And I thank you as well for how you framed the question. I had never heard somebody phrase the question as you did. Good stuff to think about.

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