Solitude with the Communion of Saints

Spiritual Delight in the Company of the Saints

Indeed, it is possible to enjoy the companionship and friendship of all the saints, even though they are not physi­cally present or visible to the eyes of the body. For the spir­itual person realizes that all are living and present to God, who dwells in eternity. And if these saints are all living and present to God, to whom you yourself are also living and present, does it not follow that the entire communion of saints, and each saint individually, is present to you also?

Though Jesus Himself departed from the world in a phys­ical sense so that we can no longer perceive His presence with our eyes, yet it is not to be doubted that He remains truly and everywhere present to us. For by removing Him­self from our physical senses, we are able to perceive Him more truly through the interior vision of faith rather than through the limited exterior vision of physical sight. And for this reason, through faith we are able to cling to Him more closely, to love Him more dearly, and to receive His Spirit more fully than if He were physically with us, like an ordinary human friend. Thus Christ declared, “Unless I go away, the Holy Spirit will not come. It is therefore more beneficial for you that now I depart from your presence.”

Mindfulness of Those Who Have Passed Away

Whenever those whom we have loved and who have been faithful during their life have passed away, we may be con­fident that they are now rejoicing in the eternal peace of heaven. And we may be confident that, as long as we re­main faithful to Christ, we are following them to that glo­rious place where they now rejoice.

For they have surely gone to the Father and now dwell in the celestial mansion which He has promised them and prepared for them. It is to this celestial mansion—a place of ineffable light and peace—that each human heart constantly aspires during this mortal life. It is to this realm of everlasting rest and infinite joy that our souls ceaselessly yearn to fly, as long as we labor in this earthly valley of tears.

And if there are any of our beloved departed who, for some reason, have not yet gained admittance to the eter­nal kingdom, then it behooves us to keep them in our prayers, and similarly to offer up works of patience and charity for their sake. For by doing so, we bring consola­tion and encouragement to their souls, and also help to advance them in their journey as they make their way to the joys of heaven.

The Joys of the Person Who Is Content with Solitude

There are certain people who have arrived at a state of such spiritual grace that they no longer need human compan­ionship or support but find all their pleasure and satisfac­tion in holy solitude. Such people ought to rejoice very greatly at this singular blessing! For the less one depends upon exterior consolations, the more richly may one expe­rience the interior and higher joys of the spirit.

Such fortunate people should strive to cast off all earthly cares, anxieties, and desires, and devote their minds to ever more profound penetration of the Divine Law and celestial mysteries. They should also contemplate deeply the bound­less joys of heaven. For even though these joys may not yet be attained or experienced, the simple act of contemplating them brings a certain foretaste of them and is to the spiritu­al mind a source of constant delight and refreshment. From the holy desire for the joys of heaven, the soul will shed tears—not the bitter tears of sorrow or despair but rather the sweet tears of fervent love and ardent longing!

Thus it is that the prophetic David speaks of these tears, which express nothing but the pure desire to see God, when he says, “Tears have become my bread day and night, whilst they say to me, ‘Where is your God?’”

This article is taken from a chapter in Solitude and Silence by Thomas à Kempis, which is available from TAN Books.



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