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The Communion of the Saints - Simon - 06-02-2009

Just a memory to share, in case it should be helpful to anyone else as it was so insightful for me...

I remember years ago now (back in the 'nineties) joining the monks for worship in the early hours of the morning in the Monastery of the Holy Virgin (Al Muharraq). As each monk arrived in the Church he would go to the front, stand in prayer a moment, bow down and kiss the altar curtain, then turn and kiss the bishop?s hand-cross and hand ? then he went around the Church greeting everyone there. He would greet a fellow monk, then an icon on the wall of a saint who had departed this life perhaps a century before, then another monk, then another monk, then the icon of a saint from the first century, then another monk? And it dawned on me that it made no difference whether it was a flesh and blood monastic companion or the icon of one who had departed however recently or long ago; this was one family, this was the communion of the saints ? and not just as an expression, declared as words in the Creed but as a living reality before my very eyes,