That we ourselves should be counted among the saints, in any sense, seems almost scandalous; certainly we are not so holy! And yet, while we count from among the body of the Church those who we set apart as examples of holiness and name them “Saints”, all who are cleansed and sealed in faith are set apart by God. From God, in and through Christ, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we too are set apart, we are made holy, we are sanctified, we are saints. The Communion of Saints is not solely the “cloud of witnesses” who are removed from us by proximity to God; we, unworthy as we are, are called into fellowship with those who would serve as models for us precisely because such is the reality of the Church.
“We believe in the communion of all the faithful of Christ, those who are pilgrims on earth, the dead who are being purified (Purgatory), and the blessed in heaven, all together 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)
It is a wonderful gift we are offered but it can also seem an intimidating burden: “Me? I should be a saint? My life should be such a magnificent evangelization that I will be memorialized and loved by the whole Church? My suffering and my faith–all that is undergone or undertaken by me, who watches bad reality TV shows–will somehow bear fruits of Christ to all? We’re doomed!” And yet the immensity of the charge of faith, to live in fellowship with and as one of the holy persons, need not frighten us, because it also means that we do not work alone. Of course, we are blessed to be offered and to have accepted the faith in God that strengthens us — and his grace would be enough. But God’s love in giving is greater still, for our undertakings are aided and our stumbling steps ensured and uplifted in Christ, by the devotion of His Mother, whom He made ours in mutual loving care, and by the whole Communion of Saints with whom we make up the Church. “If God is for us, who is against us? … In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Rom. 8:31,37).
Ephesians 1:15-18 (RSVCE)
15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
We are inheritors who, as all inheritors should, increase the riches of the deposit. And while the inheritance is given to every generation, it never passes from those who have received. What joy to be received into the Communion of Saints!