[quote=PiusXIII]Need help explaining this to a Protestant friend.
The friend wanted to know how a soul is “fit for Heaven” at the time of death. I was going to say if the soul had no mortal sin but I don’t know if that’s a very accurate answer.
Also she wanted to know why we believe that prayers for the dead can shorten their stay in Purgatory.
Well, a soul is fit for heaven if all retribution for sin has been made. Revelation says nothing unclean shall enter heaven, so even if we have no mortal sins when we die we may still have the stain of earlier venial and forgiven mortal sins. Our stains have to be cleaned before we can enter heaven.
Just as a living soul can benefit from the prayers of others, so a soul undergoing final purification can benefit from the prayers of others. They can pray for us as well. Death does not separate us, for did Jesus not say that God was not the God of the dead, but of the living? In 2nd Timothy we see Paul praying for Onesiphorus who had already died. Of course, we Catholics can look at 2nd Maccabees and see prayers offered for the dead. Even though protestants may find this book without inspiration, it cannot be argued that it is not a historical book.