I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.
The Apostle’s creed
Darth Vader: Your powers are weak, old man.
Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi: You can’t win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.
Star Wars 1977
In the Catechism of the Catholic Church entries 946-962 refer to the Communion of Saints.
To be brief the Communion of Saints consists of all believers living and dead, it is divided into three parts, The church Militant (those on earth) the Church Suffering (those in purgatory being purified prior to heaven) and the Church Triumphant (those in heaven)
Yet all three parts of the church while currently physically separated all share in the charisms of faith
951 Communion of charisms. Within the communion of the Church, the Holy Spirit “distributes special graces among the faithful of every rank” for the building up of the Church.482 Now, “to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”483
And this linkage is significant because it means members of the communion of saints are in a position to exchange spiritual goods
955 “So it is that the union of the wayfarers with the brethren who sleep in the peace of Christ is in no way interrupted, but on the contrary, according to the constant faith of the Church, this union is reinforced by an exchange of spiritual goods.”492
956 The intercession of the saints. “Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness…. They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus…. So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped.”493
Do not weep, for I shall be more useful to you after my death and I shall help you then more effectively than during my life.494 (St Dominic dying to his brothers)
I want to spend my heaven in doing good on earth.495 (St. Therese of Lisieux, the Final Conversations, tr. John Clarke
(Washington: ICS, 1977), 102.)
all for the purpose of bringing us closer to Christ, and the utilization of this link is not reserved for canonized saints: emphasis mine
958 Communion with the dead. “In full consciousness of this communion of the whole Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, the Church in its pilgrim members, from the very earliest days of the Christian religion, has honored with great respect the memory of the dead; and ‘because it is a holy and a wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins’ she offers her suffrages for them.”498Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective.
And THAT brings us to the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
One of the things that defined Justice Scalia as a man was his Catholic faith. He was not just Catholic but VERY Catholic and was not shy about expressing it as in this excellent must read interview from NY Magazine from 2013 (the interviewers questions are in bold)
I don’t know how, by your lights, that’s going to be regarded in 50 years.
I don’t know either. And, frankly, I don’t care. Maybe the world is spinning toward a wider acceptance of homosexual rights, and here’s Scalia, standing athwart it. At least standing athwart it as a constitutional entitlement. But I have never been custodian of my legacy. When I’m dead and gone, I’ll either be sublimely happy or terribly unhappy.
You believe in heaven and hell?
Oh, of course I do. Don’t you believe in heaven and hell?
Does that mean I’m not going?
[Laughing.] Unfortunately not!
Wait, to heaven or hell?
It doesn’t mean you’re not going to hell, just because you don’t believe in it. That’s Catholic doctrine! Everyone is going one place or the other.
But you don’t have to be a Catholic to get into heaven? Or believe in it?
Of course not!
Oh. So you don’t know where I’m going. Thank God.
I don’t know where you’re going. I don’t even know whether Judas Iscariot is in hell. I mean, that’s what the pope meant when he said, “Who am I to judge?” He may have recanted and had severe penance just before he died. Who knows?
Can we talk about your drafting process—
[Leans in, stage-whispers.] I even believe in the Devil.
Of course! Yeah, he’s a real person. Hey, c’mon, that’s standard Catholic doctrine! Every Catholic believes that.
By definition, Justice Scalia’s, like all those who die, is at this current moment is in one of three places or states.
Among the Damned in hell suffering the eternal punishment for the willing rejection the mercy of God through unrepented sin.
Among the Church Suffering in purgatory being purified before entering heaven.
Among those in heaven seeing God as he is, part of the Church Triumphant.
Now we have absolutely no idea as to the state of the Justice’s soul at time of his death nor the current state of his soul, but it occurs to me given the state of our country which is a cause of fear for many a fear that has been exacerbated by the good justice’s death, that there is a rather obvious plan of action for a faithful Catholic who wishes to allay that fear an do something to help out:
Why do we not ask for Justice Scalia’s prayerful intercession for our country?
It makes perfect sense.
Assuming the justice has not been dammed he is in a better and stronger position to be of aid to America now than at any point in his life. Furthermore if he is among the church suffering our prayers for his soul are a positive good we can do in repayment for all the good he has done for us and our country over the years.
And of course if he has already joined the Church triumphant in heaven his intercession on our behalf is just as effective as any canonized saint after all the only difference between a canonized saint and one that is not is our certain knowledge of the state of their soul.
In keeping with this idea starting today I’ve added to my daily prayer set an extra decade of the Rosary, the 4th sorrowful mystery Christ carrying the Cross, and will offer it daily for the souls in purgatory and asking the intercession of Justice Scalia and the souls in purgatory to help America bear its crosses.
I figure it’s an excellent prayer because if the Justice is in fact damned one is still enlisting the aid of the holy souls in purgatory while giving them succor (one of the spiritual works of mercy) and if not all the advantages I’ve already listed come into play.
Now of course if you prefer to offer a different prayer or devotion, say, for example, the divine mercy chaplet, that works too. It’s not what prayer you use in asking for the intercession but that you ARE praying and asking for intercession that makes the difference.
Picture the thought of millions of Christians asking for the intercession of St. Antonin of DC for our country on a daily basis. I think such a thing has the power to change the world.
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