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St. Thomas Aquinas
Catechetical Instructions

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  • THE TENTH ARTICLE: "The Communion of Saints, the Forgiveness of Sins."
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We must also know that not only the efficacy of the Passion of Christ is

communicated to us, but also the merits of His life; and, moreover, all the

good that all the Saints have done is communicated to all who are in the

state of grace, because all are one: "I am a partaker of all them that fear

Thee."16 Therefore, he who lives in charity participates in all the good

that is done in the entire world; but more specially does he benefit for

whom some good work is done; since one man certainly can satisfy for

another.17 Thus, through this communion we receive two benefits. One is

that the merits of Christ are communicated to all; the other is that the

good of one is communicated to another. Those who are excommunicated,

however, because they are cut off from the Church, forfeit their part of

all the good that is done, and this is a far greater loss than being bereft

of all material things. There is a danger lest the devil impede this

spiritual help in order to tempt one; and when one is thus cut off, the

devil can easily overcome him. Thus it was in the primitive Church that,

when one was excommunicated, the devil even physically attacked him.18




16. Ps. cxviii. 63.


17. "But there is also another Communion in the Church which demands

attention; every pious and holy action done by one belongs to and becomes

profitable to all, through charity which 'seeks not her own' " ("Roman

Catechism," "loc. cit.," 25).


18. "The advantage of so many and such exalted blessings bestowed by

Almighty God are especially enjoyed by those who lead a Christian life in

charity and are just and beloved of God" ("Roman Catechism," "loc. cit.," 26).

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