Friday, November 1, 2019

Where ARE our Beloved Dead?

This is going to be a tough subject for a myriad of reasons, but it's important enough to risk the possible after effects. I should say right here and now that I will NOT engage in debates. If you like what I say, great ... add to it if you like, but if you don't; please just move on ... no one is forcing you to read this.

Most all of us have lost a friend or loved one in our lives. The anguish is beyond measure. Frequent attempts at consolation, though well meaning, can be detrimental to the loved ones soul. We often hear: "Well, they're with the Lord now." Many birthday memorials send greetings 'to heaven' to their loved ones. But do we really know where they actually are?

It’s something we don’t want to even consider. Many have had hard deaths and to think of our loved ones suffering more is beyond what we can bear, yet ... if we really love them and want to do the best for THEM, should we not take this into serious consideration? This is a subject that could be a BOOK rather than a POST, yet, for the sake of brevity, I will attempt to touch on the ‘highlights’ to get the principle components out there for reflection.

Consider the 'possibility' that some souls (likely most) are in a state of cleansing ... purgatory/limbo or what ever you want to call it. Many verses in the bible both old and new testaments, refer to the cleansing 'fire'. We can't be sure if this is an actual fire or some emotional/spiritual/mental hardship knowing we're separated from God due to choices we could have made differently. But we DO know that NOTHING with the least little speck will enter heaven. So purgatory purges our imperfections and perfects our love making it possible to enter God’s Kingdom.

I believe one of the strongest arguments for a place of purging before heaven is the following: Matthew 12:32 And whoever says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. If this sin cannot be forgiven after death, it follows that there are others which can be, and this must be in purgatory: precisely the interpretation of St. Augustine, Pope St. Gregory the Great,  the Venerable Bede, and St. Bernard, among others.

So is it enough to have fond memories of our dearly departed and carry them in our hearts if there is a way to hasten their flight to heaven? I, myself, have always been one to err on the side of caution. If you do something and it winds up being for nothing; no biggie. But if we DON'T do something that could have made a HUGE difference to ourselves or a loved one and we don't do it, it's DEVASTATING. They could still be in a place of cleansing depending on our prayers and sacrifices to help them enter heaven. Souls in purgatory cannot pray for themselves, they can only pray for others.

So, at least for a moment, I propose that you believe what I’m saying here is actually true (it IS) and we CAN actually assist our dear ones that have passed.  Scripture teaches love is not self seeking and endures all things. So in other words, their ['perfected'] love prevents them from praying for themselves, compelling them instead to pray for those whose salvation hangs in the balance, even at the cost of their own prolonged suffering.

Personally, I have perpetual Masses said for all relatives and friends with the addition of special occasions and perhaps birthdays and the dates of their deaths. You can also pray and offer sacrifices in union with the Passion of Christ. The holy Rosary, Chaplets and other prayers are wonderful and important resources to this end. Our sacrifices only have merit when united to His Sufferings and offered to the Father. We also can intercede to our Blessed Mother and the saints to pray for our loved ones ... many many things can and SHOULD be done for our beloved dead. I think it's doing a great disservice to them to just assume they're in heaven. And if by chance, they ARE already in heaven, I believe God will apply our alms to a soul who has no one to pray for them, so nothing's ever wasted!

So much is upside down in the world today and has been for a long long time. Many act like what is on earth will last forever forgetting about eternity completely. Or worse yet, thinking eternity is nothing more than a nice fairy tale with heaven dangling in the distance to console the weak. It's the earth and all that is in it that will eventually pass away. THIS *IS* the TRUTH. But Jesus has conquered the world and His Death and Resurrection gives us new ETERNAL LIFE in HIM. What a precious gift purchased with a LOVE so abundant and complete that we, as humans, can't even comprehend it! So yes, we remember our dead with much love and sentiment on birthdays, anniversaries and the like; but let's always remember to do ALL we CAN to get them to heaven as quickly as possible and one day, we will know ... each one of us ... how very important this actually IS.

This may be added to, revised or edited as time moves along, in which case I will repost.

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The Apostle, St. John tells us exactly how to recognize the spirit of truth from the spirit of falsehood. He says "as for them, they are of the world - and the world listens to them because they speak the language of the world. But we are children of God and those who know God: LISTEN TO US. Those who are not of God REFUSE TO LISTEN TO US. That is how we can tell the spirit of truth from the spirit of falsehood." ~1 John 4:6 [The "us" to whom St. John refers are the Apostles, and their successors the Bishops.]

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Prayer to avoid the Sin of PRIDE:
“Oh My Jesus help me to avoid the sin of pride when I speak in Your Name. Forgive me if I ever belittle anyone in Your holy Name. Help me to listen Jesus when Your Voice is spoken and fill me with Your Holy Spirit so that I can discern the truth of Your Word when You call out to mankind. Amen.”

A prayer of St. Teresa of Avila:
O my God! Source of all mercy! I acknowledge Your sovereign power. While recalling the wasted years that are past, I believe that You, Lord, can in an instant turn this loss to gain. Miserable as I am, yet I firmly believe that You can do all things. Please restore to me the time lost, giving me Your grace, both now and in the future, that I may appear before You in "wedding garments." Amen.

“My children, let your speech be chosen with great care—it must be a light in the world. Know and believe that all you say has repercussions in time and eternity. Therefore, choose your words with wisdom and prudence, choosing to remain silent rather than fill the air with useless chatter or worse, gossip or virulent speech. Let your speech be a perfect mirror of your peaceful heart, a heart firmly grounded in the love of God and in complete trust in His goodness. Silence is often the more virtuous path. Bridle your tongue and you will be working for peace in the world.”

In the Name of Jesus I renounce as lies all thoughts that enter my mind from the evil one who accuses. By the authority of Jesus, I command them to leave me. I consecrate my mind to God for transformation into His Thoughts for my protection, salvation and His glory.



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Just a Note:

Through the grace of God and many prayers, I survived a double surgery (with cancer) in the fall of 2008. Since then has becoming increasingly important to me to enhance my prayer life. I have taken on the task of praying for strangers and those with little hope and much adversity. To that end, I've also begun (July '09), to make rosaries and related items to put prayer into the hands of as many as I can that will PRAY for others.

The world is at the precipice ... we need to TAKE ACTION ... NOW. Time for fence sitting is quickly coming to an end. We all need to do what ever we can in the way of PRAYER & PENANCE to beg God's Grace upon humanity that we may shake away this sinfulness and pride to get back on the road that leads to heaven and our Glorious Triune God!

After you have made a decision that is pleasing to God, the devil may try to make you have second thoughts. Intensify your prayer time, meditation, and good deeds. For if satan's temptations merely cause you to increase your efforts to grow in holiness, he'll have an incentive to leave you alone.
~St. Ignatius of Loyola