WEEK ONE: The Creed
DAY 5: You’ve Got the Network (Church, Mary, Saints, and Eternity)
I’m sure you recall the Verizon ad with the message “It’s the Network,” showing people on Verizon wireless phones backed up by a huge crowd of Verizon workers who represent their support network. The message is clear: wherever you go, the network is there with you and you are never on your own.
A huge part of our Catholic faith is our belief in a network we call the Church. In the Creed, we proclaim that we believe in “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church” and in the Communion of Saints. As we go through our daily lives, we do not go alone. We stand on the shoulders of the apostolic Tradition – the Tradition that has been handed down to us from the time of the apostles. We also have the Communion of Saints with us…truly “the most reliable network!” At the front of that network is Mary, who holds a place of honor in the Church. The goal of the Verizon network is to make sure that you connect and stay connected to your contacts. The goal of our network – the Church and the Communion of Saints – is to make sure that we connect and stay connected with God, both in this life and for all of eternity.
Remember our reflection on the Trinity a few days ago? We said that since we are created in the image and likeness of God, and since God is Trinitarian – a community of love – we are inherently communal. Catholicism, therefore, is not a “me and God” experience, but an experience of finding God in all people. Our commitment to community is so strong that not even death separates us from one another. Through the Communion of Saints, we remain linked with all of Christ’s followers, living and deceased. As a community, we recognize that God is our Father and that we are all brothers and sisters with the responsibility to care for one another.
God has a mission, and that mission has a Church. As we prepare to celebrate the Year of Faith, let’s pause to reflect on the role that the Church – here on earth and the communion of saints (especially Mary) – plays in our lives as we seek to connect with God in this life and for all eternity.
Reflection Questions: Choose one of the following questions and share your thoughts with your fellow retreatants by adding your comments in the comments box below this post.
- As a Catholic, how would you respond to someone who says they don’t need to Church?
- Of those saints with a small s (i.e. people in your own life, living or deceased) on whose shoulders have you stood?
- Of those Saints with a capital S (patron saints, favorite saints) on whose shoulders have you stood?
- How would you explain to someone why Mary is “pre-eminent” in the communion of saints? Why is she at the forefront of this “network?”
- What does it mean to you that Catholicism is not a “me and God” experience but a “we and God” experience?
- What does it mean to say that “God has a mission and that mission has a Church” as opposed to saying that the Church has a mission?
- How does the Church help us to gain eternal life and what exaclty IS eternal life?
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, thank you for inviting me to share in your divine life as a member of your Church. Help me, Loving Father, to learn from the example of Mary and the saints to follow Jesus more closely and to do your will with the help of the Holy Spirit. Lead me into a deeper, closer relationship with you now so that, having seen your face now, I will have nothing to fear at the time of Final Judgment.
- This Addict is a Saint
- More Lay Saints Please
- Holy Imitation
- According to Your Will: Mary’s “YES” and Ours
- Mary’s Human Response
- The Marks of the Church
- The Reality of Eternal Life
CCC References: 748-1065
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I hope you’re enjoying our online summer retreat, Preparing for a Year of Faith! Take a few minutes each day at your convenience to “gather” here on my blog as we seek to add some flavor to our faith lives by deepening our understanding of the truths of our faith as given to us in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.