I have no idea what, exactly, the Beatific Vision will be like. I cannot begin to imagine it. I can only desire it as a “mystery gift,” a vague promise of something far beyond my experience. What I can imagine and look forward to is the revelation of what we call the “communion of the saints,” this mysterious intertwining of destinies, our solidarity in salvation. In the Creed, our profession of the communion of the saints is followed by the affirmation of our belief in the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the dead, and life everlasting. I think that these all go together.
But before becoming a communion of saints we are first of all a communion of sinners. There is a sense of solidarity even in sin—a sense that, in making a pact with the evil within us, we make a pact with evil itself and thus become responsible for the sins of all—from the blood of Abel to the apostasy of the last apostate. To refuse this solidarity is, in itself, a sin against communion. We are asked to carry one another’s burdens, including the burden of sin, and thus fulfill the law of Christ, who, being sinless, could assume all sin without being consumed by it. Of course, being sinners, we can do this only imperfectly. Sometimes our own burden of sin may seem like burden enough. But so long as we are members of one body, we cannot forget the other members. As St. Paul says in I Corinthians 12:26, “If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it.”