Companionship

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Earlier this week, on the Feast of Sts. Simon and Jude I heard a homily that sparked something within me.  During the homily the priest pointed out that we celebrate the feast of St. Simon and St. Jude on the same day because the two were both martyred together.  The priest then asked, “If you were going through a time of great suffering or tribulation, who would you want to go through it with?  Who do you want to die with?”  He pointed out the importance of companionship and asked, “So, who do you want to live with?”

We are on a journey, a journey of a life with Christ.  We seek to live for Him and to one day be completely united with the Lord in Heaven.  We cannot journey alone.  Jesus sent out his disciples two by two.  Our companions on the journey are most important because we are able to help one another along the way, encourage each other, support each other, pray for each other, fraternally correct each other, witness to each other.  Surely our companions on this earth are very important but perhaps there are other companions, too, that we must not forget about.

This brings me to today’s feast.  Today we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints.  Originally this feast was called the feast of All Martyrs.  It was a day to commemorate anonymous saints; to remember those who laid down their life for Christ in martyrdom and yet whose names we do not know.  During mass this morning I thought of all those who are united with our Lord in heaven whose life gave witness to their faith in Christ, those whose garments were washed white in the blood of the Lamb.  Even though they are in Heaven, they do not forget about us who are still pilgrims on this earth.  Rather, they encourage us from Heaven.  They are our companions.

The veil between this life and the next is so thin.  Let us pray for the grace to see the power in the prayers of those who are our heavenly companions, who encourage us to continue striving for holiness.  May our life be a witness to our love and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Enjoy this reflection from St. Bernard:

“Calling the saints to mind inspires, or rather arouses in us, above all else, a longing to enjoy their company, so desirable in itself.  We long t share in the citizenship of heaven, to dwell with the spirits of the blessed, to join the assembly of patriarchs, the ranks of the prophets, the council of apostles, the great host of martyrs, the noble company of confessors and the choir of virgins.  In short, we long to be united in happiness with all the saints.  But our dispositions change.  The Church of all the first followers of Christ awaits us, but we do nothing about it.  The saints want us to be with them, and we are indifferent.  The souls of the just await us, and we ignore them.

Come, brothers, let us at length spur ourselves on.  We must rise again with Christ, we must seek he world which is above and set our mind on the things of heaven.  Let us long for those who are longing for us, hasten to those who are waiting for us, and ask those who look for our coming to intercede for us.  We should not only want to be with the saints, we should also hope to possess their happiness…”  – St. Bernard