Since my brother died in 2008 my family has had several masses said for him (as well as keeping him in our daily prayers). Like many people, I hope that my deceased loved one is in Heaven already with God. However, I think it is more prudent to “play it safe” (so to speak) and continue to say prayers and have masses said for loved ones in the event that they are still in Purgatory. (Besides, even if your loved one is in Heaven now you can always ask God that in the event this is the case to allow your prayers to benefit some other poor holy soul. )
While reading a book on Purgatory (Hungry Souls by Gerard J.M. Van Den Aardweg) I was struck by something I had never heard of before. He says towards the close of his book:
“Poor souls indeed very often ask for holy Masses; but an expiatory act of high value is also the offering up of holy Communion, even of so-called spiritual communions.” (page 123)
What does this mean? I have never heard of offering up Communion before. Is this an acceptable practice? And if so, what is one supposed to do? Simply think to oneself as he or she receives the Lord “I am offering the sacrament of holy Eucharist for so and so”? Does this mean you sacrifice all of the benefits that you would normally gain from receiving Eucharist?
As you can see I am clearly confused. :o I’d love to know what people have to say about this, but in particular I would very much prefer some official statement (link, article, quote, etc.) by the Church on the matter. Thanks.