“Well, thanks be to God, he is no
longer suffering!” “Undoubtedly, now he
is in a much better place!” “He is home
safe!” “Heaven is definitely, where he
is now!” All of these pious platitudes
are often expressed at the death of a loved one and often on the very day of
his funeral and burial!
My response to these seemingly
“Compassionate” expressions would be:
How do we know he is no longer suffering? Also, what source of certitude do we have that he is in heaven and in this
better place? “Home safe?” Who told you or did you actually see him?
Only the Holy Father, the Pope, has a
right to officially canonize somebody after he is died and buried. Furthermore,
the process of canonization does not take place upon the person’s burial but
after a long and tedious study to see if he really lived heroic virtue. Moreover,
3 miracles, after he has died must be attributed to his intercession.
Following are three common errors
often committed regarding our deceased brothers and sisters, who we must love
and be concerned about and concerned about for their entrance into heaven. Then, we will offer three concrete acts of
charity we can do towards our deceased loved ones!
First, UNOFFICIAL CANONIZATION PROCESS! No priest or deacon or even Bishop can claim
with certitude that an adult who has died is definitely in heaven. We must trust in God’s infinite mercy and
always be buoyed up by the virtue of hope. However, to proclaim officially that
this deceased person is in heaven is a grave error. Why?
If he is in heaven, then no need to pray for him after his death; the
prayers will only be wasted. Nobody
will pray for him!
Second, OMIT PRAYING FOR HIM. Listen to this! St. Pope Gregory the Great, had a friend that
died. The Pope offered not only one
Mass, nor a week, but a full month of Masses (30 Masses) for His friend, who ,
after the Masses were offered appeared to the Saintly Pope revealing that he
was now in heaven, but only after the Holy Pope had offered 30 Masses for him.
This is the origin of the “Gregorian Masses” (30 consecutive Masses) offered for the
Third, FALSE COMPASSION: USE OF PIOUS
PLATITUDES! Hearing sayings such as “He
is no longer suffering!’ Or “He is in a better place now!” Furthermore, “He is in heaven with the angels
and saints!” None of us knows where he
is! We are not the Pope, nor God, nor a
canonized mystic, that his secret insights to the destiny of the dead! These sayings of “False compassion” also
will prevent prayers, sacrifices, and Masses from being offered for the dead
person. And if he indeed is in
Purgatory, he may detained there much longer than if frequent, fervent and
trusting prayers were offered for the relief of his immortal soul!
What then can we do to alleviate the
souls of our departed brothers and sisters?
First, PRAY! Once we have died, we can no longer
merit! However, while we are living we
can still merit by prayer, by sacrifices, by acts of charity and by receiving
the Sacraments—especially the Most Holy Eucharist--- with fervent
dispositions. We can never go wrong by
praying at any time and in any place for the souls in Purgatory. Their sufferings are most intense but our
prayers are an allaying balm of refreshment preparing them for final union with
the Most Blessed Trinity in Heaven.
Second, MASSES! By far, the most efficacious means and prayer
to alleviate the pains of the souls in Purgatory is the offering of the most
Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the purification of the stains of the souls
still detained in Purgatory.
St. Nicholas of Tolentino, often
depicted celebrating Mass, can be seen consecrating the Precious Blood, and
below him is seen a vision of Purgatory.
The Precious Body and Blood Jesus purify the sins of the soul in Purgatory
and grant him release from this temporary state of Purification and access to
heaven. One of the primary reasons why St.
Nicholas wanted to become a priest was precisely this: to offer as many Masses
as possible for the souls in Purgatory to give them wings to fly to
heaven! These souls in Purgatory who have
merited from your prayers and sacrifices will be eternally grateful for your
charity towards and in turn will pray
Third, INDULGENCES! The Church, being mother and teacher, and
having an infinite resource of spiritual treasures, offers us many opportunities
to receive INDULGENCES! What are the
conditions? Here they are! Confession,
Sacramental Communion, the Rosary in front of the Blessed Sacrament, or the
Rosary in family, or reading the Bible prayerfully at least a half an hour,
praying for the intentions of the Holy Father, and last but not least, being
detached from sin, even the affection to venial sin! If all of these conditions are carried out,
and the Communion is offered for a soul
in Purgatory , then a Plenary Indulgence can be applied to that soul and be granted freedom from Purgatory!
The Film “The Greatest Miracle” which
refers to Holy Mass, shows an elderly pious and holy woman “Cata”, receiving
Holy Communion. Her Guardian Angel
points out that this woman has a very pure soul. Upon receiving Holy
Communion, Purgatory is open, the Guardian
Angel descends into Purgatory and takes a soul to Heaven, where the angels and
saints and God Himself receive that soul!
Indeed, we can become the “Divine
Firemen” to pray, sacrifice and offer Masses so as to liberate those poor and
dependent souls—dependent upon God’s mercy and our love--- and bring them safe
to the Lord. “The Lord is my Shepherd
there is nothing I shall want.”
Finally, the saints have pointed out
that especially on Marian Feast days--- The Assumption, Immaculate Conception,
Our Lady of Mount Carmel—many souls are alleviated of their sufferings and many
are taken on these days to heaven! Mary, Mother of God, Mother of mercy, pray
for our beloved deceased love ones and bring them safely to heaven!