Tuesday, November 9, 2010

If you believe in the resurrection, then pray for those who have died

The book of 2 Maccabees (12:38ff) contains an interesting account. Some of Judas' men had fallen in battle, and Judas discovered that the reason for their falling was because they were guilty of sin. Judas then encouraged his men to take heart, and to sanctify themselves to God and to pray for those who had fallen in battle. In addition, he arranged for a collection which would be sent to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering for those fallen soldiers. What is particularly interesting in this account is the reason given for Judas' actions. In verse 43 we are told:

"In doing this, he acted very well and honourably, taking account of the resurrection".

In other words, the hope of the resurrection was Judas' inspiration for his prayers and offerings on behalf of those who had died, that they might be released from their sins. Clearly, Judas understood that the sin committed by these men was not damning, but it was serious enough that it would continue to bind them until they were sufficiently purified to enter the Most Holy Presence of God Almighty.

And so, during this month of November, which is dedicated to the Holy Souls, may we follow the example of the noble Judas. May we offer our prayers, works, joys, and sufferings for the souls in Purgatory that they may be released from their sins. And may we do so trusting in the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in the hope of His Resurrection - knowing that we will oneday be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.

1 comment:

  1. As providence would have it, I was reading "Crossing the Threshold of Hope" by Pope John Paul II during my Holy Hour this evening, and came across this quote:

    "The Church prays for the dead and this prayer says much about the reality of the Church itself. It says that the Church continues to live in hope of eternal life."

    Coincidence? I think not...