Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Why we should never cease praying for the dead

                            We really are united with the souls who have gone before us.

There is a phrase that we proclaim as Catholics when we pray the Apostles’ Creed where we say that we believe in the communion of saints.  This phrase, when referred to persons, is the spiritual union of the members of the Christian Church, which includes the living and the dead, but excluding those who are the damned.  All the members of the communion of saints are part of a single “mystical body” with Christ as the head.  What is important to note is that each member of this “body” contributes to the good of all and shares in the welfare of all.

The Latin phrase of this term is “communio sanctorum”, where “sanctorum” is understood not just to holy persons, but to holy things, like the blessings that the holy persons share with each other, and this includes their faith, the sacraments and the spiritual graces that they have as members of the Body of Christ.

It is from Paul’s letter to the Romans (12:12-27) that state that in Christ, Christians form a single body.  The term hagios which is translated into English as “saint” can refer to sanctified individual who are called holy as they are consecrated to God.  

We are taught that all members of Christ have communion with Christ and are recipients of all his gifts.  As we all form one body, the good of each is communicated to the others.  This being the case, there also exists a communion of goods in the Church.  It is true that the most important member is Christ, as he is the head.  But Christ’s riches are communicated to all the members through the sacraments.

Persons who are linked within this communion include those who have died and in Hebrews 12:1, are pictured as a cloud of witnesses encompassing Christians on earth.  

In Catholic terms, the communion of saints exists in the three states of the Church, which include the Church Militant (here on earth in this life), the Church Penitent (those souls  undergoing purification in purgatory), and the Church Triumphant ( souls which have attained their heavenly goal after having been purified).  Notice that the damned do not form a part of the communion of saints.

We who are Christians who belong to the Roman Catholic Church seek the intercession of saints in heaven, whose prayers are believed to help their fellow Christians on earth.  

We are all part of the assembly of the saints and are in communion with them.  There is a great movement of fraternal charity which strengthened when we pray for the saints who are awaiting their purification in purgatory.  While we are living, when we have Christian communion with our fellow pilgrims, we are brought closer to Christ.  In the same way, our communion with the saints join us to Christ.  This is remarkable because it is Christ who as the head of the Church, issues all grace to the life of the People of God.  

How do we pray for our deceased relatives of friends?

We can firstly commend their names to almighty God and entrust ourselves to our Creator.

We can also rest in the arms of the Lord who formed us from his heart of love.

Many of us Catholics have strong devotion to Mary, so it is good to ask her, the angels and all the saints to welcome them now that they have departed from this life.

We seek the intercession of Christ who went to the Cross for us, to bring our relations and friends the freedom and peace that only heaven can give.

Christ is the good shepherd and we see him to embrace our deceased relations and friends as one of his precious flock.

We pray that God forgive all of their sins, and place them among those he has chosen.

There is a prayer for the departed attributed to St Anne, and it is called the Prayer for the Faithful Departed.  It goes like this:

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.  May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.  Amen.

Mary our blessed Mother has been known to be an instrument of God’s mercy for those who have a strong devotion to her.  Elizabeth Kindelmann was born in Hungary and baptized about 7 days after her birth.  She was from a poor family, but while her mother was a Catholic, all the children from the family received a Catholic Education.  She ha 12 brothers and sister, and all were twins, except for her who has the 13th child.  And she was the only one to make it through the adult age.  Many of her siblings were victims of the 1919 Spanish Influenza, two died from diphtheria and two were killed in accidents.  Elizabeth’s mother died at a young age, and Elizabeth never knew why.

It was in November 1923, that Elizabeth was sent to Willisau Switzerland to live with the family of an entrepreneur of agricultural machiner.  It was a year later that she went back to Budapest because she loved her mother who was seriously ill and confined to a bed.

The family in Willinsau were considered as her “parents” and they wanted to take her for good to Switzerland.  There was a misunderstanding of the appointment to meet in Switzerland, and it caused her to accomplish her mission in Hungary, where a young Hungarian couple took her back to Budapest.

She worked as a maid a home of notable provincial mother up till June 1926.  She encountered an elderly lady who wanted to pay her to take care of her little garden and in exchange, she would be provided meals.  

It was early on August 1926 when she went to the Church of Perpetual Adoration where she sat on a bench at the park.  In the morning, she went tot he Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus where she slept during the entire Mass.  She was next hired to carry bottles of milk by a dairyman, and part of her work required of her to help to crack nuts into baskets.  She was paid with “fillers” with which she could buy five croissants at the marketplace.  Later, she became a porter at Halles and offered her services to the ladies who went there for shopping.  Through her hardships, she wanted to make God known to others, and she had constantly in mind religious teachings and missions.

When she was fifteen year old, she decided to become a nun at a conrgegation founded by a countess of Oultremont.  There she could contemplate in silence before the Blessed Sacrament, where she filled her heart with God’s love.  She felt deep inside a great desire to become a missionary nun.  

She used to meet an elderly lade when she went for her Perpetual Adoration, and she told this lady of her dreams of becoming a missionary.  This lady gave her the contact of the missionary sisters of Hermina Street who were raising and teaching orphans and who were also conducting missions and sending out missionaries.

She went to speak to the nun in charge of missionaries, and was referred to the ‘Superior’.  She met her and told her how she wanted to go on a mission and make God known to others.  She was told right there that she did not have a true vocation and wanted to become a mum because she was an orphan without a home.

This confused Elizabeth, and it didn’t settle her well.  She reported this to the lady who referred her to the ‘Superior’ and was told to go to their headquarters at a place called Menesi Avenue to seek the Provincial Superior.  

This she did and the Provincial Superior was very kind, relieving Elizabeth.  This Provincial prayed with her.  Both of them went to the chapel, and she witnessed how the Provincial Superior was covering with Jesus.  After a while, she went to Elizabeth, placed her had over hers and said that this is not what God wants.  Instead, God wants something else for her, and has a mission for her that she must accomplish the best she can.

Autumn of 1929 was the turning point of her life.  She was accepted in the Choral of the Church of Christ the King community at Jozsefavors.  The first tenor asked her to marry him.  She was 16 years old at that time, got married, and her husband lived for 30 years more.  From the years of 1931 and 1942, they had six children, and the Angelus and the Rosary were part of their lives.

The nationalisation of 1948 was harsh on them.  On the verge of ruin, she became a waitress at the military academy where she worked for 12 hours a day.  

She had several spiritual encounters and it was in 1962 that she head a specific call from God, where she was told to renounce herself for God has a great mission for her.  She would only be able to do it if she completely renounced herself.  She accepted God’s will and her souls was seized with so much grace she was speechless.

In those communications, she could distinguish the voice of Jesus from the voice of Mary or the angel.

She became the Lord and Mary’s tool, enduring many trials that she overcame with exceptional strength.  

Flame of Love Rosary

She developed the Flame of Love movement, which was inspired by the Blessed Virgin Mary and helps those who wish to participate in the salvation of all humanity under the guidance of the Church.

The mission of the Movement is to evangelise with the Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary so that the Love of the Eternal Father and the Sacred Heart of Jesus set all hearts on fire.

In each country where the Movement is established, a National Cooridinator is appointed, insuring a smooth running of the movement in the Country, promoting the spiritual life fo the movement entered on the Holy Eucharist, preserving the purity o the message of the Flame of Love, promoting unity and approving publications.

Why such devotions are good and necessary

It is because all members of the Catholic Church are considered members of the Communion of Saints that it is good that we pray fervently for the purification of souls after their lives on this earth has ended.  We are carrying out our responsibility to care for the dead.  Each of us must have had relations or friends who have passed away.  What are we doing for them?  Yes, we can and should be offering Masses for their souls, but this Flame of Love rosary is a very active (and daily) act of devotion that we can and should be doing for them.  What we can be encouraged by is the fact that once souls have been purified and reach their heavenly goal, they will not stop praying for us.  We will have a spiritual connection with these purified souls who are basking in God’s glory in heaven.  Our union in the Communion of Saints will only get stronger.  Let us never forget that praying for souls is a mission that we all share as baptized members of the Body of Christ, and this is where the Church Militant can actively help the Church Penitent.  

God bless you for having taken the time to read this blog reflection.  May it change your life positively.

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