957 Communion with the saints. ‘It is not merely by the title of example that we cherish the memory of those in heaven; we seek, 1173 rather, that by this devotion to the exercise of fraternal charity the union of the whole Church in the Spirit may be strengthened. Exactly as Christian communion among our fellow pilgrims brings us closer to Christ, so our communion with the saints joins us to Christ, from whom as from its fountain and head issues all grace, and the life of the People of God itself’:~~6 We worship Christ as God’s Son; we love the martyrs as the Lord’s disciples and imitators, and rightly so because of their matchless devotion towards their king and master. May we also be their companions and fellow disciples!497 958 Communion with the dead. ‘In full consciousness of this communion of the whole Mystical Body ofJesus Christ, the Church in its pilgrim members, from the very earliest days of the Christian religion, has honoured with great respect the memory of the dead; 1371 and “because it is a holy and a wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins” she offers her suf— 1032 frages for them.’~~8 Our prayer for them is capable not only of 1689 helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective. 959 In the one family of God. ‘For if we continue to love one another and to join in praising the Most Holy Trinity — all of us who are sons of God and form one family in Christ — we will be 1027 faithful to the deepest vocation of the Church.’499

IN BRIEF 960 The Church is a ‘communion of saints’: this expression refers first to the ‘holy things’ (‘sancta’), above all the Eucharist, by which ‘the unity of believers, who form one body in Christ, is both represented and brought about’ (LG 3).