As we get ready to leave for FOCUS training next week, I've begun saying goodbye to some friends who I may never get to see again. While it is so sad to think about not being able to have coffee, play dates, or spiritual direction meetings with these people again, I also know that they aren't really gone from my life or I from theirs.
Goodbyes are not my favorite, not by a long shot. One of the wonderful things about our Catholic faith, though, is that goodbyes aren't actually as bad as they seem. We are all together in the Eucharist. We are united by our faith, united by the Sacraments and the prayers we share. And, God willing, we will someday be reunited in Heaven.
When we think about the communion of saints, we know that the saints are all together with us whenever we celebrate Mass. When we celebrate Mass it isn't the 9:30am Mass and the 11:30am Mass as separate entities - we are all together at one Mass, it just takes place all over the world, at different times and in different spaces. So even if we are far apart, separated by miles or oceans, we are together in the Eucharist, united by Christ's sacrifice.
These goodbyes seem hard, but in a way, they make Mass and the Eucharist that much sweeter knowing that whenever I'm celebrating Mass, my friends - saintly and those not yet saints - are there with me, too.