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250

Part One

Christ, from whom as from its fountain and head issues all grace,

and the life of the People of God itself”

498

:

We worship Christ as God’s Son; we love the martyrs as the

Lord’s disciples and imitators, and rightly so because of their

matchless devotion towards their king and master. May we

also be their companions and fellow disciples!

499

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 suf-

frages for them.”

500

Our prayer for them is capable not only of

helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective.

959

In the one family of God.

“For if we continue to love one

another and to join in praising the Most Holy Trinity—all of us who

are sons of God and form one family in Christ—we will be faithful

to the deepest vocation of the Church.”

501

IN BRIEF

960

The Church is a “communion of saints”: this expres-

sion refers first to the “holy things” (

sancta

), above all

the Eucharist, by which “the unity of believers, who

form one body in Christ, is both represented and

brought about” (

LG

3).

961

The term “communion of saints” refers also to the

communion of “holy persons” (

sancti

) in Christ who

“died for all,” so that what each one does or suffers in

and for Christ bears fruit for all.

962

“We believe in the communion of all the faithful of

Christ, those who are pilgrims on earth, the dead who

are being purified, and the blessed in heaven, all to-

gether forming one Church; and we believe that in this

communion, the merciful love of God and his saints is

always [attentive] to our prayers” (Paul VI,

CPG

§ 30).

498

LG

50; cf.

Eph

4:1-6.

499

Martyrium Polycarpi,

17:

Apostolic Fathers

II/3, 396.

500

LG

50; cf.

2 Macc

12:45.

501

LG

51; cf.

Heb

3:6.

1371

1032, 1689

1027