Communion of Saints

“I believe in the communion of saints…” is one of my favorite lines in the Creed. It reminds me that I am part of something bigger, much bigger. It conjures up images of a more cosmic perspective, where I am connected to all those who have gone before me. It makes me think of a life-time continuum—from the spark that starts life, through this life and then onto new life—eternal life.

In the communion of saints, I feel more connected to some saints than others. Mary Magdalene tops the list of my favorite saints. She has inspired me and consoled me more times than I can remember. When I think of her, I think of how much she loved Jesus and how she was loyal to him to the end of his life and beyond. She reminds me of forgiveness and healing and love. I feel a deep bond of friendship with her.

On Good Friday, I posted a piece here about another Mary, the mother of Jesus—the other woman who loved Jesus and was loyal to him to the end of his life and beyond. I wrote about a vision I had of Mary two years ago.

Later that day, during the Good Friday Liturgy, I had another encounter with Mary, the mother of Jesus. It happened after an elderly man tripped and fell in the aisle near where I was sitting. Several people rushed to the man and someone called 911.

While we waited for the ambulance to arrive, the priest started to pray: first, the Our Father and then the Hail Mary. He continued to pray the Hail Mary, again and again, until the ambulance arrived.

Tears poured down my cheeks as I prayed, “Holy Mary, Mother of God….”  It reminded me of that day two years ago, praying the rosary with Jim, invoking Mary, the Mother of God.

I felt her presence.

“What do you want, Mary?” I asked in the silence of my heart.

For the rest of that day—and every day since—I have wondered what Mary wants.

When I reported all this to my spiritual director, she asked about my history with Mary. I told her that over the years, Mary has tried to get my attention—through scripture and prayer and art—but I have not been open. I already have my “best friend” saint in Mary Magdalene and did not see how the other Mary could fit into my life.

My spiritual director suggested that one thing Mary and I have in common is that we both store up things and ponder them (Luke 2:19).  She suggested I simply sit with Mary and be open to a new relationship.

I have been much more aware of Mary’s presence since Good Friday, as I ponder all these things and pray for openness.


4 thoughts on “Communion of Saints

  1. Pat

    Just this afternoon, as I sat with a friend who has stage 4 cancer, we pondered the Communion of Saints and were encouraged by the magnitude of our kinship! Last week I had an image of Mary, offered to me by a retreat master whom I overheard speaking to a group of nuns, saying “yes” to God living in her womb–and I imagined God in the body of my friend, embraced by Mary as she embraced Jesus.

  2. Madeline Bialecki Post author

    My walk with Mary continues too grow more conscious. I think she is the perfect end-of-life companion because, as you say, Pat, she said yes to God living in her womb as a starting point and then continued until she held his lifeless form–and then new life. I have been blind!


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