Christians believe that a mysterious, spiritual solidarity exists among themselves and all other Children of the same God. We call this solidarity the communion of saints; the efforts, merits, and sufferings of each individual benefit the rest. A similar law exists in the natural order, and if we think about it a little, we shall be convinced that our words and actions have a deeper and more far-reaching effect than we often imagine. Therefore, it is an absolute duty of everyone who understands what “absolute” and “duty” mean, to say and do nothing that is evil or even indifferent, since there is no neutrality in matters of morality. From that arises the obligation to make a sustained effort on a daily basis to work at interior perfection,the effect we have on others will be the reflection and expression of what we are within because, whether we intend it or not, . Let us create an interior treasure of noble thoughts, energy, and strong, intense affection, and then we may be sure that sooner or later, perhaps without our being aware of it, the overflow will affect the hearts of others.I am not hiding the fact that this is a difficult task for one who relies on reason alone, which is itself to some extent only a tool, and many circumstances may falsify it or impede its action. I have, however, total confidence in God’s ways of working with each person, even with those who never address God personally, and yet offer genuine homage by their love of the good, the just, and the beautiful.
Both All Saints Day and All Souls Day bring to our Catholic consciousness further understandings of our spiritual connectedness. Magnificat meditations focus, again, on this reality. The following was written by Pope Benedict the XVI:
The SaintsPraying for those who have gone before us drew our thinking to the communion of saints and the spiritual exchange of gifts. Then you will ask: What will this mean then? Is that not a nonsensical religious commercialism? The question became sharper, as I remember, because one spoke in fact of the treasury of the Church, which consisted of the good deeds of the saints. What is that supposed to mean? Must not every man be responsible for himself? What use should the possible good works of another be for me? So we ask because we still live in the narrow individualism of modern times, despite all socialist ideas. In fact, however, no man is closed in on himself. We all live interdependently, not only materially, but also spiritually, and morally.First let us make that clear negatively. There are men who not only destroy themselves but also corrupt others with them and leave behind powers of destruction that drive whole generations into nihilism. If we think of the great seducers of our century, we know how real this is. The negation of the one becomes a contagious disease that carries others away.But, God be praised, this is not only true in the negative. There are people who leave behind, so to speak a surplus of love, of perseverance in suffering, of honor and truth that captures others and sustains them. In the innermost recesses of existence, there really is such a thing as taking another’s place. The entire mystery of Christ rests on this… In the spiritual realm everything belongs to everyone. There is no private property. The good of another becomes mine, and mine becomes his. Everything comes from Christ, but because we belong to him, what is ours becomes his and attains healing power. That is what is meant by talk of the treasury of the Church: the good deeds of the saints. To pray for an indulgence means to enter into this spiritual communion of gifts and to put oneself at its disposal.
Another Magnificat meditation comes from Father Henri-Dominique Lacordaire. The following is what he has to say concerning our spiritual connectedness and Purgatory:
Purgatory and CommunionAll holy souls — all souls, that is to say, which are enlightened by truth and guided by charity, are in communion. Even here below, without knowing it, they are linked to one another, they are members of a society of which God is the center, the life, the light, the beauty, and the bliss. They help one another by their prayers and good works; they suffer for one another’s sake; they are like the stones of which a church is built, which are hidden from one another, yet support one another from the foundation to the roof. Once they reach their goal, which is God, they see themselves and all things else in God, just as here below, although but imperfectly, we see the world in the sunlight. There, in that expanse which has neither limit nor shade, they meet and enjoy one another in a far closer embrace than even during their earthly pilgrimage. Our meetings on earth are by comparison mere vain and fruitless advances. Those who were loved on earth will wonder at finding how slight a thing that love was, and true love will come to them as a revelation equaled only by their former ignorance.In purgatory, however, in which souls are kept away from God, they only have the hope of that boundless and everlasting communion. Perhaps they may be able to see souls nearest them, if any are nearer than others; or perhaps they will mourn awhile in lonely seclusion, till their expiation shall be accomplished and they shall be admitted to the light.