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Communion of Saints and 經緯線

刊登日期: 2012.10.05
作者: Fr. Thomas Au 區耀邦神父  

As I mentioned before, Pope Benedict will canonize St. Kateri Tekawitha on Oct 21.  Actually, he will also canonize St. Marianne Cope on the same day.  I will write about them the next 2 weeks.

For now, I would like to talk about the belief of the communion of saints(諸聖相通).  We as Catholics make a big deal on saints, and rightly so.  They are the wonderful heroes and heroines of our faith.  But more than just admiring them, we believe that they are with us just as much as Jesus is truly with us every single moment and everywhere.  This is not just a figment of our imagination, though we do need our imagination to grasp the truth.

It used to be that time and space were really concepts encountered only in physics and mathematics.  It is amazing that in our present time we experience it in a real sense.  40 years ago when I went from Hong Kong to the US, I wrote letters to my parents.  It took about 1 week for a letter to reach them via airmail and slower by other means.  A package from Hong Kong took about 1 month to be delivered.  (It remains about that even now.)  Back then, no one would make a long distance phone call except in an emergency.  It cost about US$10 for 3 minutes, if I remember right.  But now, you pick up your cell phone and call anywhere in the world.  Cheaper yet and even better, talk to someone anywhere in the world via SKYPE!  Time and space lose their meaning.

Let me give you another awesome thought.  I do this with my students all the time.  I would ask them, while they were sitting at their desks in the classroom, “How fast are you going this moment?”  They would say, “Nowhere.”  Well, not quite true.  You see, the earth is rotating at about 25,000 miles around the equator.  It takes 24 hours for the earth to go around once.  Therefore, the earth is moving at a little more than 1,000 miles an hour at the equator.  Now, Hong Kong is not at the equator.  If you make the calculations based on the latitude of Hong Kong, you will find that it is only 23,040 miles to go around once.  That is, you would be moving at about 960 miles an hour while sitting down.  If you live in Beijing, you would be moving at about 795 miles an hour.  The further north you go, the slower you move.  Try imagining being at the North Pole or where the earth rotates around its axis.  It would take 24 hours to go around once standing still!!!  Can you stand still for 24 hours?

It is with this idea of space and time being more than we can “feel” that we can say the saints are with us truly and really because once we die, and are freed from this earth, space and time no longer have meaning.  Not only are we free from them, we can be in all time and all space.  It is truly amazing to think that the Church talked about these truths before technology could emulate so that we could get a sense of it.

What I am trying to say is this.  When we think of the saints, the heroes and heroines of our faith, they are truly with us, encouraging us to live a real faith.  Their stories can be our stories and more.  We get the same grace as they did.  We also get them to be our example.  We can learn from them.  And we can be with them NOW and FOR ALL ETERNITY.

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