Is my family in Purgatory?


#1

Hello,

Last night I was struck by how little I think of my family and God’s saving grace.

You see, when I pray for the intercession of the dead and dying, such as my grandpa and step-aunt (both of whom were not Catholic and seemingly not terribly religious at all, except they did believe in God), I have difficulty believing that they are in heaven now. I don’t believe they are in hell, because I believe God’s mercy saved them that much, but I don’t believe they are in heaven either.

So, today is the third anniversary of my step-aunt passing. My stepdad is, of course, sad. Last night at the dinner table we were discussing how today would be the third anniversary and how almost everyone seems to have forgotten except a select few. I spoke up and mentioned that I continue to pray for her – which was the wrong thing to do. Again, to reiterate, no one else is Catholic but me – and so my stepdad asks, “What do you pray for?”

I couldn’t say, “To get her soul out of purgatory,” because he would have been offended – so I said, “That’s she’s doing well.” He said, “Don’t you think she’s doing well in heaven? It just all depends on what her house looks like.”

At that moment, I was struck by how critical I have been of my deceased relatives and what God can work in each one of them and for them. I was and am embarassed. So many times I have thought to speak to my deceased grandfather, but I truly can’t help but think he’s in purgatory and cannot hear me.


#2

Continue praying for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, and if the conversation ever comes up be honest about it. Don’t worry if you offend anyone. You are entitled to your beliefs just as they are entitled to theirs. Never hide or disguise your beliefs for fear of offending someone. Although, at the same time, don’t feel the need to constanty share your beliefs. Just be honest about them when the conversation comes up.

Only God can judge people. The final destination of a soul is entirely up to God, and we can never know the state of a soul after death unless the Church proclaims them a saint. Even though we do not know the final destination of our deceased relatives we can and should pray for them. If they are in Heaven they will appreciate our prayers, if they are in Purgatory they will need our prayers, and if they are in Hell they won’t hear our prayers. We should pray for our deceased relatives because they may need our help. Our prayers could really help them. If they are in Hell, our prayers will not harm them.

Just pray for your dead because you love them and trust in the loving mercy of the Lord.


#3

I understand where you’re coming from in your post with your step-dad. I came across this prayer awhile back and try to say it a few times each day. Hope it helps you out:

ourladyswarriors.org/prayer/purgator.htm

Padre Pio had a great devotion to remembering the deceased as we should be praying for them that Purgatory be emptied and those souls enter in eternal paradise.


#4

That is one of those question no one can answer. Only God. I lost my Dad six months ago, he was everything that we are taught to be. kind, giving, his faith alone could probally save the world. But as good as he was, he also had sins, like us all, In my heart I believe he went straight to God, But I also know he was human,and with that will be and was judged. I believe God took him fast, but i still dont know everything God knows. So I pray for him and my Brother and other loved ones everyday. My Dad always said you can pray people out of purgatory. So if they are there or they are already in heaven, I am not taking the chance, better to pray for them anyway, and if they are with God, Pray that our prayers can help others to get there, And maybe our prayer for them can give them Grace to get others in. Its never wrong to Pray, and its better to be on the safe side.


#5

This is easier said than done! My family doesn’t understand Catholicism, and I’m the worst person in the world to try and explain it to them. It’s not that I lack understanding, even though I could always do with more(!), but to try and explain it in terms that my family might understand (much less appreciate) is difficult! Just the other week I failed miserably at attempting to explain why priests aren’t allowed to marry…

And purgatory? Wow! That would be something wholly other trying to explain how it’s not so simple as either “heaven” or “hell” to my family who, on the outside, appear to adhere to a notion of “once saved, always saved” with (most likely) inner contrition when their conscience gets the better of them. I shouldn’t be so judgmental, and may the Lord have mercy on me for being such, but this is what I see and why I hardly bother.


#6

This is easier said than done! My family doesn’t understand Catholicism, and I’m the worst person in the world to try and explain it to them. It’s not that I lack understanding, even though I could always do with more(!), but to try and explain it in terms that my family might understand (much less appreciate) is difficult! Just the other week I failed miserably at attempting to explain why priests aren’t allowed to marry…

If they are interested, show them the relevant sections or verses of the Catechism. If they don’t want to read but still ask you questions, then I would advise you to do your best to explain it to them. If this isn’t enough for them, remind them that they should read the Catechism and leave it at that.

The best explanation is always the explanation the Church provides in the Catechism.


#7

I tried this once. It was a different era in my life, and I tried proving something against the Holy Trinity. (Lord have mercy on me. :gopray: ) My mother and I had a bit of a tense discussion, and I pulled down my Catechism to show her what the Church said about the Trinity, and she replied, “Well, I don’t believe what the Catholic Church says.”

I’d like to be able to point out Catechism references or Scriptural references like a well-trained apologist, but I am hardly able to do that. Plus, knowing them as I do, I’m not sure they’d be interested…

I’m a horrible witness, aren’t I?


#8

I’m a horrible witness, aren’t I?

No, it isn’t your fault. Your words are falling on deaf ears. Even if you provided them with a hundred scripture references, you can’t make them believe anything they don’t want to.

The best thing you can do is pray for them because nothing is impossible with God.


#9

Believe me – I do! I also pray that the Holy Spirit fill me with wisdom and the ability to speak as such.


#10

Your question in the thread title cannot be answered by anyone here. Only God knows where your family are.


#11

Only God and the souls themselves know where they are, but pray for them anyway. Even if they’re in heaven, prays still benefit them and they will pray for you.

Jim


#12

If I may say a couple of things here:

(a) Faith is a gift, so we should all be praying for the gift of faith for those around us.

(b) Prayer for the souls in purgatory is like free money - if we pray “Eternal Father, I offer you the most Precious Blood of Thy divine Son Jesus Christ, in union with the masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in our universal church, those in my own home, and in my family” - many, many souls from purgatory are released into heaven, and once released, they pray for you !!

I always liked the part just before the red portion where it says “In one vision…” mtep.com/stgertrude.htm - touching…

© Try reading “Catholicism for Dummies”. While the title sounds insulting, it can be an excellent resource for the Catholic wanting to learn more… we should all be trying to learn more…


#13

Our faith teaches us that death is NOT the end. And it urges us to be in loving communion with our departed dear ones in prayer for them and especially in the Holy Liturgy.

And, of course, the Resurrection of Christ shows that death is not fatal.


#14

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