Excerpt from the Church Militant Field Manual:
“The fervent petition of a holy man is powerful indeed. My brothers, the case may arise among you of someone straying from the truth and of another bringing him back. Remember this: the person who brings a sinner back from his way will save his soul from death and cancel a multitude of sins”
(Jas 5:16b, 19-20).
“I’ve got your six” is a military phrase that basically means “I’ve got your back.” It comes from the old pilot system in which directions correspond to hours on the clock, where 12 o’clock is forward and 6 o’clock is behind. Thus anyone behind you is “at your six.”
Blessed Peter Favre said, “I felt great desires that the saints might pray for us, they who have so much power in their state of glory, and that the souls in purgatory might offer prayers for us amidst those remorseful lamentations of theirs … these souls can do much for us (more than we can tell).” St. John Vianney said, “Oh! If all of us but knew how great is the power of the good souls in purgatory with the heart of God, and if we knew all the graces we can attain through their intercession, they would not be so much forgotten! We must pray much for them, so that they may pray much for us.”
We are not meant to advance unaided. In His great wisdom, God has set up a Holy Alliance that, once united, is designed to defeat any and all forces of darkness in the heavenly realm, rescue souls, and build up the kingdom of God. This alliance is the aforementioned Communion of Saints. It is the exchange of the Sancta Sanctis! (“God’s holy gifts for God’s holy people!”) Those on earth (Church Militant) invoke the saints in heaven and pray for the souls in purgatory (we can gain indulgences for them). When called upon, those in heaven pray for the Church Militant and the Church Penitent; they obtain graces for us on earth and an alleviation of suffering for the poor souls in purgatory. Those in purgatory can, when called upon, invoke the saints on high and pray for us struggling with the world, the flesh, and the evil spirit.
St. Thomas Aquinas wrote: “Charity is incomplete until it includes the dead as well as the living.” While we live together on earth as Christians, we are in communion, or unity, with one another. But that communion doesn’t end when one of us dies. In the Communion of Saints “a perennial link of charity exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, those who are expiating their sins in purgatory, and those who are still pilgrims on earth. Between them there is, too, an abundant exchange of all good things” (Indulgentiarum doctrina, 5). In other words, the bond of love remains, along with the self-emptying nature of that real love. Even separated by death, we continue to care for each other, look out for each other, and build each other up. And so we continue to say to one another, “I’ve got your six!”
To understand how God’s amazing structure for this loving exchange of spiritual goods is built, we must learn what we mean by indulgences. St. Ignatius of Loyola wrote, “Indulgences are of such value that I find myself unable to appreciate them according to their true worth or to speak of them highly enough. Thus I exhort you to hold them in the highest possible esteem.”
We will explore this incredible gift of indulgences in the next post. Link
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