We know that St. Ignatius was inspired by the stories of the saints. We’ve heard stories of him lying in bed during his recovery, recognizing the glorious battles and victories of the saints reaching out to him from the pages of the books he read. He began to feel inspired by those stories, and indeed it was these saints’ stories that gently pushed him on to follow God’s will.
As many others do, I pray for the intercession of a particular group of saints as a part of my daily prayer. These are members of the communion of saints who have touched my life in some way—saints who have gone before me to whom I feel connected. I know it’s goofy, but I refer to this group as “Team Cara.” The exact membership of Team Cara changes over time as the circumstances of my life bring me closer to particular saints. I picture them up in Heaven celebrating when things go well, commiserating amongst themselves when I mess up, and maybe even strategizing just how they’re going to present my latest case for intercession. They’re on this journey with me, praying right along with me through every peak and valley.
We are blessed to have many unique and captivating examples of following God’s will in the lives of the saints, both those formally recognized by the Church and those not. This communion of saints is referred to in Revelation 7:14 as “those who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” They are the ones who may have led seemingly ordinary lives, but who have touched our own lives in extraordinary ways. Together the communion of saints, this massive army, as St. Ignatius might have said, inspires us through their examples. They faced many similar battles as we face in our lives and, indeed, even lost a few of them. But somehow, their relationship with God touches our lives in some profound way and connects us to them. They are not distant or untouchable; they are right here with us. With such an army in our corner, we are offered a little more courage to do battle with whatever life may throw at us next.
In this month of November in which we pray for the dead, let us pray for all those ordinary people who have joined the communion of saints. Who knows—they may soon find themselves journeying with you on your own extraordinary saintly team.