Doctor Who is a BBC show that follows the adventures of a Timelord (known as the Doctor) and his friends (known as companions) as they travel throughout time and space in a blue box (known as the TARDIS), fighting evil, saving humanity, and being generally awesome. The show is not Catholic (some of the head writers & producers are atheists), but has some very Catholic lessons which can be gleaned from it. Today, as I discuss the Communion of Saints, I'd like to look at an episode from Series 3: "Blink." If you haven't seen the episode, I'll give some vague information about it, but not enough to spoil the show for you.
In a nutshell, "Blink" features a young woman named Sally and a creepy old house that she stumbles across. While in said house, she begins finding messages on the walls that are written for her. Even weirder? These messages were written in 1969, but Sally Sparrow is living in the 21st century. Creepiness continues to ensue as people disappear, more messages pop up, and Sally meets the famed Weeping Angels. These creatures are quantum-locked, and can only move to attack you when they are not being looked at. However, the minute someone's eyes turn towards them, bam! The Weeping Angels turn to stone.
|How do you protect yourself? By following the Doctor's advice:|
"Don't turn your back...don't look away...and don't blink."
Doctor: "People don't understand time. It's not what you think it is."
Sally: "Then what is it?"
Sally: "Tell me."
Doctor: "Very complicated...People assume that time is a strict progression from cause to effect, but actually, from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it's more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey...stuff."
If you want to watch the actual clip from the episode, it's about four minutes long but a teensy bit spoiler-ish. If not, just keep reading below, and I'll be vague to keep things spoiler-free!
What does all of this have to do with the Communion of Saints?
In "Blink," we find out that the Doctor is in the past, but he's helping Sally in the present, based upon events that will happen in the future. Sally's salvation is coming by way of non-linear events and people from different places and times working together to help her out. Doesn't this remind us of the Communion of Saints and how God works?
God is outside of time, He is eternal, and the creator of all: As the Catechism mentions, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth: three things are affirmed in these first words of Scripture: the eternal God gave a beginning to all that exists outside of himself..." (CCC 290). God is eternal; in His viewpoint, events do not happen in the linear manner of time that we experience them.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty.” (Rev 1:8)God, being awesomely eternal, then works outside of our constraints of time. For example, let's look at the formal definition of the Immaculate Conception, which was proclaimed in 1854:
We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which holds that the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, at the first instant of her conception, was preserved immune from all stain of sin, by a singular grace and privilege of the Omnipotent God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was revealed by God and must be firmly and constantly believed by all the faithful. (Ineffabilis Deus, Pope Piux IX)In my Mariology class a few years ago in college, we learned the concept of preservative redemption. In this statement from 1854, we see it proclaimed that Mary was preserved "in view of the merits of Jesus Christ." From a human perspective, this may seem crazy. After all, Mary was conceived without sin years before Christ died on the Cross. But, thinking about the eternity of God, it's a little easier to comprehend. Since God is not held by the constraints of time, it naturally follows that the events of Christ's life can impact the conception of His mother. It's a bit wibbly-wobbly.
The Communion of Saints is comprised of three parts: The Church Militant (those on Earth), the Church Triumphant (those in Heaven), and the Church Suffering (those in Purgatory). Just as in Doctor Who, where different people from different times work together to help Sally Sparrow in the present, so too, in the Communion of Saints, those not held by the constraints of time (those in Heaven and Purgatory) are praying for and assisting those in the present time on Earth! Furthermore, the actions of Sally in the future impact the past and present, which relates back to the preservative redemption that came into play with Mary's Immaculate Conception.
In fact, there is a story I once heard of St. Pio, where he was praying fervently, and was asked what-or who-he was praying for. St. Pio revealed that he was praying for a good death of a relative who had already died several years previously! His explanation? For God, all things are present, since there is no past or future-so at that time, God made use of these prayers from the present-day.
In fact, some of my friends and I call the whole "outside of time" thing into mind when we offer to pray for people. You know how we will offer to pray to certain saints for other peoples' tests or events? How many times have you or I forgotten to say a prayer at the appointed time? I'll admit that I have done this before. So, I typically say a prayer right then and there anyway, because God and the saints are outside of time.
This weekend, remember the wonderful, glorious, amazing Communion of Saints that we are part of! I encourage all of you to keep up relationships with many of the awesome saints out there, and to learn more about them. If you don't have a favorite saint, then hit the internet and start researching into particular patronages or interests that you have-honestly, there is a patron saint for everything! (the internet, coffee, beer, etc.)
[The giveaway is now closed]
Now, for the giveaway! I recently discovered a pattern for an adorable Weeping Angel doll (I know that they are villains, but this thing is so cute!!), made it for one of my friends, and she loved it. So, I made another one, and I am giving it to one lucky reader as a "Happy End of Ordinary Time" present, because really, we don't have much Ordinary Time left before Advent!
|The angel measures 7-1/2 inches tall, is crocheted with gray yarn, |
stuffed with polyfill, and has a few pinto beans in its base
so it can stand unassisted.
Who is one of your favorite saints and what is his or her patronage? And, if you watch Doctor Who, who is your favorite companion?
Make sure to post your e-mail address with your comment so I can notify you if you win! (if you are concerned about putting your e-mail in a public comment, after commenting, just send me a short e-mail to mention that at firstname.lastname@example.org) The giveaway ends on November 4, 2015 at MIDNIGHT in the Central Time zone, and I will be randomly selecting a winner and posting the first name of said person on November 5, 2015. For shipping purposes, the contest is only open to readers in the Continental U.S.A., and you may enter only once.
I hope that you all have a blessed Saintly Triduum! If you are still looking for ways to celebrate, check out my post, "11 Ways to Have a Creepy, Cool, Catholic Halloween."