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The Celebration of the Christian Mystery

371

In the Communion of Saints

1474

The Christian who seeks to purify himself of his sin and to

become holy with the help of God’s grace is not alone. “The life of each of

God’s children is joined in Christ and through Christ in a wonderful way

to the life of all the other Christian brethren in the supernatural unity of

the Mystical Body of Christ, as in a single mystical person.”

86

1475

In the communion of saints, “a perennial link of charity exists

between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, those

who are expiating their sins in purgatory and those who are still pilgrims

on earth. Between them there is, too, an abundant exchange of all good

things.”

87

In this wonderful exchange, the holiness of one profits others,

well beyond the harm that the sin of one could cause others. Thus recourse

to the communion of saints lets the contrite sinner be more promptly and

efficaciously purified of the punishments for sin.

1476

We also call these spiritual goods of the communion of saints the

Church’s treasury,

which is “not the sum total of the material goods which

have accumulated during the course of the centuries. On the contrary the

‘treasury of the Church’ is the infinite value, which can never be exhausted,

which Christ’s merits have before God. They were offered so that the

whole of mankind could be set free from sin and attain communion with

the Father. In Christ, the Redeemer himself, the satisfactions and merits of

his Redemption exist and find their efficacy.”

88

1477

“This treasury includes as well the prayers and good works of

the Blessed Virgin Mary. They are truly immense, unfathomable, and even

pristine in their value before God. In the treasury, too, are the prayers and

good works of all the saints, all those who have followed in the footsteps

of Christ the Lord and by his grace have made their lives holy and carried

out the mission the Father entrusted to them. In this way they attained

their own salvation and at the same time cooperated in saving their

brothers in the unity of the Mystical Body.”

89

Obtaining indulgence from God through the Church

1478

An indulgence is obtained through the Church who, by virtue of

the power of binding and loosing granted her by Christ Jesus, intervenes

in favor of individual Christians and opens for them the treasury of the

merits of Christ and the saints to obtain from the Father of mercies the

remission of the temporal punishments due for their sins. Thus the Church

does not want simply to come to the aid of these Christians, but also to

spur them to works of devotion, penance, and charity.

90

1479

Since the faithful departed now being purified are also members

of the same communion of saints, one way we can help them is to obtain

86

Indulgentiarum doctrina,

5.

87

Indulgentiarum doctrina,

5.

88

Indulgentiarum doctrina,

5.

89

Indulgentiarum doctrina,

5.

90 Cf.

Indulgentiarum doctrina,

5.

946-959

795

617

969

981

1032