What is the communion of saints, and how does Mary relate to that?

The communion of saints is one of the things that I love most about being Catholic. In brief, it’s the belief that there’s a family bond, a communion, between all believers in Christ – those who have died, as well as those of us who are still alive. This understanding helps explain the Catholic belief in intercessory prayer: just as we might ask a friend or family member to pray for us, so we can ask members of our heavenly family to do the same, and to support us as we strive to live a good life. As it says in Lumen Gentium, “just as Christian communion among wayfarers brings us closer to Christ, so our companionship with the saints joins us to Christ, from whom as from its fountain and head issues every grace and the very life of the people of God” (LG 50).

Traditionally, Mary has been seen as having a prominent place among the communion of saints. She is known as Queen of All Saints because of her sanctity, as well as the unique circumstances of her life. As the mother of Jesus, she has a closeness to him that no other saint does. She is also sometimes described as the first apostle, because of the way that her actions on earth helped make the reign of Christ a reality. Her intercession can be a powerful help as we try to do the same.