Dear Fathers, Friends in Christ,
In the time of their visitation they shall shine. (Wisdom 3:7)
Have you ever wondered why we bother to pray for those who have already died? After all, they’ve already passed from this life. The simple answer is because Scripture tells us to! Judas Maccabeus, an Old Testament hero, once sent money to Jerusalem to pay for a sin offering for some soldiers he had buried that day. The bodies of these soldiers were found with pagan tokens under them, indicating they had engaged in idol worship. Judas believed that his offering might help atone for their sin and bring them into heaven
(2 Maccabees 12:38-46).
The Catechism teaches us that “all who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1030).
Today, why not dedicate your prayer time to interceding for those who have gone before you—both your loved ones and those you found it hard to love? We have no way of knowing who goes straight to heaven, who goes to purgatory, or how long each person stays there. But we do know that the souls of the righteous are at peace, even if they aren’t yet perfected in holiness
Prayer is never useless! Even if you pray for someone who is already in the full light of the kingdom, God will take your intercession and pour out a different blessing, maybe on the Church, on someone who doesn’t yet believe, or even on you! All he’s concerned about is that we continue to pray and work for the building up of his body, both here on earth and in heaven.
“Thank you, Jesus, for having reconciled us to your Father. Lord, may all who have gone before us be fully purified and enter the full light of your kingdom.”
Father Ed Bakker
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne