The Beautiful Corner and the Communion of Saints

by Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB

For part of a talk at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church, in Salem, Oregon, I brought together the practice of establishing a prayer corner, also called an icon corner or a beautiful corner, and our understanding of the communion of saints.  I used the example of my own icon corner in our reflections.

St. Timothy's incorporates several icons into its prayer and worship, including an icon of the Pantocrator.  The story behind this icon is also a wonderful illustration of the communion of saints.

The icon corner in my studio at Queen of Angels Monastery

A large icon of the Mother of God
written through the hand of Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB

An icon of the Pantocrator written through the hand of Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB

Drawing on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we explored the many dimensions of our communion in the Church and the communion between the Church in heaven and the Church on earth.  We began with Sancta sanctis!

Sancta sanctis!  (God's holy gifts for God's holy people") is proclaimed by the celebrant in most Eastern liturgies during the elevation of the holy Gifts before the distribution of communion. The faithful (sancti) are fed by Christ's holy body and blood (sancta) to grow in the communion of the Holy Spirit (koinonia) and to communicate it to the world (par. 948).

Prayer cards of the icons written through the hand of Mary Katsilometes
for the Church of the Resurrection in Tualatin, Oregon

The prayer card for the teacher of my teachers, Mary Kasilometes and Kathy Sievers

The prayer card for my teacher and friend Fr. Jerome Young, a monk of Mount Angel Abbey

A photograph of my student Felipe with the small icon
I wrote for him for his graduation from Mount Angel Seminary

We considered the many dimensions of our communion in spiritual goods:

Communion in the faith: The faith of the faithful is the faith of the Church, received from the apostles.  Faith is a treasure of life which is enriched by being shared (par. 949).
Communion of the sacraments: The fruit of all the sacraments belong to all of the faithful.  All the sacraments are sacred links uniting the faithful to one another and binding them to Jesus Christ, and above all Baptism, the gate by which we enter into the Church (par. 950).
Communion of charisms: Within the communion of the Church, the Holy Spirit "distributes special graces among the faithful of every rank" for the building up of the Church.  Now, "to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good" (par. 951).
They had everything in common: "Everything the true Christian has is to be regarded as a good possessed in common with everyone else.  All Christians should be ready and eager to come to the help of the needy . . . and of their neighbors in want."  A Christian is a steward of the Lord's goods (par. 952).
Communion in charity: "None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself."  In this solidarity with all men, living and dead, which is founded on the communion of saints, the least of our acts done in charity redounds to the profit of all.  Every sin harms communion (par. 953).