fresco of saints

Christ Glorified in the Court of Heaven, by Fra Angelico (1428-1430)

The Community of Saints in Heaven


Fr. Bill Farris, OFM

Every day our world, and even our church, seems to become more polarized. Every issue, every event carries two or more interpretations, supporting two or more positions, and two or more solutions. Common ground is rapidly disappearing. I find it especially disturbing that the symbols and institutions of our Catholic unity are swept up into this polarization.

I often forget that this state of affairs is not unique to the present moment in time. Societies have never been free from disagreement and tension, and neither has the Church. Perhaps modern technology overstimulates the normal differences in outlook. The solution exists in joining a community now completely at one: the communion of saints. They have experienced the healing forgiveness of sin, the resurrection into a new life everlasting. Now and for eternity they enjoy full unity in the Holy Trinity.


St. Anthony of Padua

St. Anthony is a special advocate who sees our struggles and disunity. He gently invites us into the healing community of his friends, the saints in heaven. He listens to our intercessions, whether we are on the right side of the church, or the left side, in the majority or in the minority, or red or blue politically. St. Anthony wants us on our knees before the Lord because he knows that kneeling reminds us of our shared needs.

St. Anthony, help us live by Jesus’ prayer that we find in the words of St. John: “I pray…that all may be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.”

(Fr. Bill Farris, OFM, is the Provincial Vicar of the Province of St. John the Baptist.)

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