Reflection – Praying for the Departed
As Christians, we are used to praying. Prayer is the life-breath of our relationship with God and is of enormous benefit, both to ourselves and for those for whom we pray. As Catholic Christians, we stand within a tradition in which prayer is not just for the living, but is also for the dead, the ‘departed’. Indeed, we pray for them at every mass, just as we pray for the living. We rightly understand that, living and departed, we are all part of one community, the Church. Yet, I wonder, do we really understand why we pray for those who have died?
For Protestants, the view is that if you die having accepted Jesus you immediately enter heaven (although some believe in a period of ‘sleep’ before doing so), your sins forgiven. There is therefore no need or point in praying for the dead. However, the traditional view of the Church, founded on scripture and reason, is that we all, save for those few who are known as ‘saints’ and their associates, the ‘blessed’ and ‘venerable’, require continupis growth in the love of God and a time when we can be perfected in that love. Few of us at death, still far from perfect as we are, are able to immediately enter into the Kingdom. We therefore require time and opportunity to grow more deeply, to come closer to God. Prayer for those undergoing this experience is very beneficial for them, aiding them to grow in the love of God more quickly and enabling them to come to their heavenly home sooner.
The Society, of which the Benefice is an affiliated parish, has produced a reflection of prayer for the departed and this is being premiered on The Society Facebook tonight at 8pm. I would encourage you to watch this important reflection, made for the benefit of the Church. You do not need to subscribe to Facebook in order to watch!
More on this subject to follow!