We are often told that we should pray for souls in purgatory, to help move them along to heaven. And that praying for others is a good thing. My question, however, is different. Can we pray for souls in hell? Can we help move them along and maybe get to purgatory and maybe one day get to heaven? Is there no hope for the damned at all? If a person is sent to hell, is there nothing we can do or pray for them for redemption?
I ask because of recent threads about those who are not catholic, or haven’t found God when they die. I am curious about those who haven’t done what’s required, haven’t become closer to God and Jesus, haven’t striven to receive Their grace. And it’s an honest question, not meant to incite debate.
I ask for personal reasons. I personally think my mother was a faithful, good catholic, but not perfect. She was faithful to the church and participated in the sacraments, stayed with church teachings, etc. And she did a great thing in sticking in me the seed of catholic faith which has finally sprouted and grown. But she wasn’t perfect. But I have faith that she at the very least ended up in purgatory, and hopefully is working or has worked her way into God’s Kingdom.
My father, on the other hand, I have my doubts about. He was a pretty good catholic, believed in the church and sacraments, went to church weekly. But wasn’t deep in his participation in church. And frankly, he was a pretty big sinner. He had a lot of issues in life, many which he never conquerred. He never committed serious crimes or did serious evil, but he had a lot of problems overcoming his own demons. I hope that his faith in the church, and participation in the church and the sacraments helped with his salvation, but I have my doubts that he managed to end up in purgatory.
I pray for both of them often. I hope my prayers are heard and that it somehow helps them receive God’s grace. I’d love to be reunited with them in God’s Kingdom some day. But I do have my doubts about my father. And I don’t know. If he did end up in Hell, is there no way to pray for his redemption? Is there anything we can do for the dead to help with their salvation?