Tuesday, November 24, 2020 –
Holy Hannah, y’all! We are at the LAST of the seven Spiritual Works of Mercy, which means today we will be discussing: to pray for the living and the dead.
Okay, now we talked a lot about prayer way back on Days 177 – 187, so I will not rehash all of that. Instead we are going to keep it short and sweet and just talk about the work of mercy. So, let’s dig in with our Bishop Morrow:
Which are the chief spiritual works of mercy?—The chief spiritual works of mercy are seven:…
7. To pray for the living and the dead.
We may not see the effects of our prayers, but God sees. Not one single prayer raised to God from a sincere heart is wasted. “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.” Prayer do good not only to those we pray for, but to ourselves. (Bishop Morrow, My Catholic Faith, p. 181)
And, adding on, let’s open up our Baltimore Catechism #3:
Q. 818. Why is it a work of mercy to pray for the living and the dead?
A. It is a work of mercy to aid those who are unable to aid themselves. The living are exposed to temptations, and while in mortal sin they are deprived of the merit of their good works and need our prayers. The dead can in no way help themselves and depend on us for assistance.
All righty. I am not going to sugar coat this for you: not everyone makes it to heaven. Some of us poor saps are lucky if we hit purgatory. Worse, some will CHOOSE hell and everlasting damnation. However, until the final judgement when all is made known, we DO NOT know where another person ends up. Therefore, we MUST pray for them while they are alive in hopes that they repent and make amends to God. Also, we must especially after they die because our prayers help remit their temporal punishment in the unfortunate event of them landing in purgatory.
No prayer goes unwasted. If dear Aunt Erma is an unrepentant soul stuck in the bowels of hell, you should STILL pray for her because—even if she us there, which you will not know until the final judgement—God will use your prayer for His purposes. I cannot tell you how or who He will use them for, but rest assured He WILL use every last ounce of your prayer!
As a side note, we are still in November, which means the month dedicated to the poor souls in purgatory. I encourage all of you to stop by a cemetery and pray for the souls there. You do not have to know who the person is. Sadly, many of our dead have no one to pray for them. Make an effort to say a daily prayer for the soul most in need of God’s mercy.
Also, last thing…Mrs. Flusche’s Facepalm Story about Praying for the (un)Dead
So, our little parish has a tiny cemetery attached to it, and I try to make an effort to stop by on my way in or out of daily Mass and say a quick prayer for the deceased of our parish. It is an old cemetery that has recently finished “filling out” (AKA they sold the last plot and had to buy more land elsewhere for the rest of us.
Anyhoo, usually I aimlessly wander around, muttering prayers, and occasionally stop to read headstones. A good friend came out of Church and saw me over in the graveyard and strolled over to see what I was up to. I had stopped at one of the headstones that only had a family name—no dates, no deets, no nothing! I asked my friend if she knew the story of this particular headstone because I am a history nut who hangs out in old cemeteries in a state that is still fighting the Civil War.
She looked at me puzzled, pointed to an elderly couple exiting the Church and said, “ask them. It’s their grave, but I don’t think they’re using it yet.”
Sancte Iacobe (minor), ora pro nobis!