DEVOTION TO THE SAINTS
At his weekly audience, Pope Francis said that when he was little, he thought the phrase “the communion of saints” in the Creed meant that the saints in heaven were receiving Holy Communion. Instead, the communion of saints expresses how “every member of the church is bound to each of us in a profound way and this bond is so strong that it cannot be broken even by death.”
Pope Francis sought to clarify the difference between devotion to a saint, even to Mary or St. Joseph, and superstition or idolatry. “Sometimes even Christianity can fall into forms of devotion that seem to reflect a mentality that is more pagan than Christian.” But the fundamental difference is that our prayer and the devotion of the faithful people is not based on trust in a human being, or in an image or an object, even when we know they are sacred.” It is not the saints who work miracles, but only the Grace of God that acts through them.”
Just as a person can have a friendship with another parishioner, he or she can have a relationship with a brother or sister in heaven. The saints are friends and devotion is actually a way of expressing the love that comes from this bond that unites us.
“In Christ no one can ever truly separate us from those we love. Only the manner of being with them changes, but nothing and no one can break this bond. The communion of saints holds together the community of believers on earth and in heaven.”
WORLD DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE SICK
February 11th, Friday of this week, is the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, and World Day of Prayer for the Sick. There has always been a strong tradition of bringing the sick and suffering to Lourdes to experience love and healing. The healing offered at Lourdes sometimes takes the form of extraordinary miracles, but always brings with it a beautiful healing that comes from treating the sick and suffering with dignity and compassion.
In 1992, St. Pope John Paul II asked that with the commemoration of Our Lady of Lourdes, all believers might offer prayers for those suffering from illnesses. We take this opportunity to pray for Doctors and Nurses who treat the sick and for all health care workers who seek to be God’s instruments of love and compassion.