Skip to comments.Praying for Those Who Have Died Is a Work of Mercy
Posted on 11/03/2017 8:28:56 AM PDT by Salvation
What is the value of one prayer? I suspect it is far greater than any of us imagine. Prayer changes things, sometimes in obvious ways, but more often in subtle and even paradoxical ways. But prayer is surely important, even when we dont experience its immediate effects. Perhaps this is why Jesus taught us to pray always and never to lose heart (cf. Luke 18:1). St. Paul echoed this with the simple exhortation, Pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17). St. James also warned, You have not because you ask not (James 4:2).
Praying for the living is a great and wondrous spiritual work of mercy; its value is beyond that of gold or pearls. What is the value of one prayer? The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man is powerful in in its effects (James 5:16). Prayer can avert war, bring healing, cause conversion, bestow peace and serenity, and call down mercysweet, necessary, and beautiful mercy. Prayer is a treasure of inestimable value.
Perhaps one of the greatest joys of Heaven will be seeing how much of a difference our prayers made, even the distracted and perfunctory ones. Maybe our simple utterance at the end of a decade of the rosary to Save us from the fires of Hell and to Lead all souls to Heaven will reach the heart of one lost soul, prompting him to answer the gentle call of God to return. Imagine that in Heaven that very sinner comes up to you and says, Though we never met, your prayer reached me and God applied His power to me. Imagine the joy of many such meetings in Heaven. Imagine, too, whom you will joyfully thank for their prayers, people you know and some you never met. But they prayed and the power of their prayers reached you.
While the value of praying for the living is not widely disputed, praying for the dead is a spiritual work of mercy that has suffered in recent decades. Too many Catholics today miss a step when a loved one dies. There are often immediate declarations that the deceased is in Heaven or in a better place. But Scripture doesnt say that we go right to Heaven when we die. No, indeed. First, there is a brief stopover at the judgment seat of Christ.
The Letter to the Hebrews says, It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment (Heb 9:27). St. Paul writes, For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad (2 Cor 5:10).
Our deceased loved ones go to the judgment seat of Christ, and that is worth praying about!
What is the judgment for those who lived faithful lives? In such cases, the judgment is not merely about the ultimate destination of Heaven or Hell. The judgment would seem to be Is My work in you complete?
Indeed, the Lord has made all of us a promise: You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Mat 5:48). Such a beautiful promise! Yet most of us know that we are not in such a state now. If we were to die today it is clear that much work would still be required. Thus when we send our faithful loved ones to judgment, although we send them with hope, we are aware that finishing work may be necessary. Purgation and purification are necessary before entering Heaven, of which scripture says, Nothing impure will ever enter it (Rev 21:27).
Again, this is worth praying about. It is a great work of mercy we can extend to our deceased loved ones, to remember them with love and to pray, in the words of St. Paul, May God who has begun a good work in you bring it to completion (Phil 1:6). Pray often for the souls in Purgatory. Surely there are joys there for them, knowing that they are on their way to Heaven, but there are also sufferings that purgation must cause. St. Paul says of Purgatory, Each ones work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyones work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire (1 Cor 3:13-15). Yes, there is fire, but thank God it is a healing fire. There are tears, too, for Scripture says (regarding the dead) that Jesus will wipe every tear from their eyes (Rev 21:4).
How consoling and merciful our prayers must seem to our beloved who have died! Our prayers must seem like a gentle wind that speeds them along, onward and upward toward Heaven!
Praying for the dead, then, is the last and greatest spiritual work of mercy. By the grace of it, and through its help, souls attain the glory God has prepared for them from the foundation of the world.
Monsignor Pope Ping!
Why would you pray for someone who died? Isn’t their fates sealed?
Why would you pray for someone who died? Isnt their fates sealed?
Are you aware that when your body dies, your soul is alive and goes through a particular judgment by Jesus Christ, himself?
Then the alive soul is either judged for heaven, Purgatory or hell.
So we pray for them, and they know we are praying for them.
Read that response.
Have you ever read any books about Near Death Experiences?
NDEs — they should prove to you that the soul is alive.
I recommend a book by Dr. Jeffrey Long because it has the scientific as well as the heavenly (or otherwise) accounts.
Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences
I believe in a living soul after death. I look forward to going to heaven. However, if a soul is thrown into Hell, can a pray get God to change his mind? I don’t think so.
If there is a purgatory, then that would explain his prayers for the dead.
Since this is not clearly outlined in the bible and there are a number of opinions about what happens between death and the GWTJ, I’ll throw my two bits in
I believe that we live in linear time, but “eternity” or the world outside this one is different. I believe that when I die, from my perspective, it will be instantaneous. That is, even if mankind is on this earth another thousand years, if I die right this instant, I will find myself at the GWTJ as if no time passed at all.
I have no way of knowing, of course, because now we see “as through a glass darkly. But then, face to face.”
You are correct there.
That was the person’s choice.
“if a soul is thrown into Hell, can a pray get God to change his mind? I dont think so.”
Not a chance. Each person makes his choice to accept or reject salvation while on the earth; it’s a done deal. I guess if someone has nothing else to do with his time, he can pray for dead folk, but why waste the time?
Please read this
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May there souls and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen
What exactly would you pray for? They are already in paradise as good as it gets. If not, can someone be prayed out of hell? What do you give the soul that has everything?
As October is the Month of Mary for the Catholic Church, November is the Month of the Holy Souls in Purgatory, and Msgr. Pope has penned a very easy-to-read explanation of the importance of same. Thank you for posting!
Purgatory was the biggest draw for me to the Catholic Church [from Lutheranism]. I remember distinctly seeing the painting of the souls falling into the flames of fire, but the flames were not flames from hell, but from purgatory, and the souls, although quite pained, were not gravely so, and looked forward to an eventual eternity with God in heaven.
Living a rather sordid lifestyle (like many of my peers in the 60s), nothing gave me peace of mind [in the mid-80s when I converted] more than the fact I could still attain heaven someday (through purgatory).
My husband tells me there are saints who have actually seen souls make their way to heaven through the prayers they were currently chanting for them. How very beautiful.
Thank you, Jesus. We love you!
OK, I totally disbelieve in Purgatory. But if you it were true, what do you think praying for someone there would accomplish? Are they not there to have their sins burned away? If you pray for them what happens to all those sins? Do they not need to be burned away, according to your belief?
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