Prayers for the faithfully departed


#1

Ok, I am convinced that prayers for the faithfully departed are beneficial (i.e. no protests to the practice evident from the historical record).

However, can we prove from the historical record that that benefit is due to Purgatory? I understand that Orthodox Christians reject Purgatory but do hold to the idea that prayers for the faithfully departed are beneficial.

I hold that Purgatory is correct (due to my agreeing that the Holy Church settles such matters), however, since this is an apologetics site, what is the best approach to showing the Orthodox that Purgatory is the correct mode of thought here?

It possibly may have have more to do with disproving their position than proving ours.

Any thoughts?


#2

It is my understanding that the Orthodox do not reject the general concept of Purgatory, but that they do not have a defined teaching on the subject that one is bound to believe. I may be wrong in this, but if you have a link or some other authoritative Orthodox statement about this one way or the other, that would be helpful.


#3

stnicholas-oca.org/prayer4dead.htm

The Eastern Orthodox Church concerns herself with the care and salvation of her faithful children; guiding them, not only in this life, on the road of salutary Christian life, but also, after death, the Church does not cease to pray for their salvation.

This appears to be the Eastern Orthodox view. I’m not sure what the other Orthodox teach (i.e. Russian, Greek, etc.)


#4

Whatever happened to "Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord and let perpetual light shine upone them. May the soul of … through the mercy of God, rest in peace, Amen.?

I was taught this as a child and I pray this each and every time someone who has passed beyond pops into my mind. Everyone. Faithful or not. We have a solemn obligation as part of the Church Militant to pray with the Church Triumphant for the souls in the Chruch Suffering. As I pray, I pray that there will be folks praying for me in the future.


#5

I believe the hardest thing for me to come to grips with is really nice people who never attended church, but were my friends and died. Are they really burning in hell? I pray for their souls anyway. Some unchurched people were nicer to me in life then church people. That’s the truth. And what of some of our relatives who were in our lives, who we loved dearly, but never entered a church door? Yet were decent moral people? This has always troubled my soul. What do you say?


#6

no scripture that supports purgatory. when you become a christian you become a new creature. old things have passed away all things have become new. sin is no longer evident in your spirit. so if there’s no sin you are able to enter into heaven. and no scripture in the bible every referencing praying someone into heaven faster…gotta search out in the scripture to find out if what you believe is true…just don’t accept someones word for it…you HAVE to have scripture…

Ceasar


#7

[quote=piety101]I believe the hardest thing for me to come to grips with is really nice people who never attended church, but were my friends and died. Are they really burning in hell? I pray for their souls anyway. Some unchurched people were nicer to me in life then church people. That’s the truth. And what of some of our relatives who were in our lives, who we loved dearly, but never entered a church door? Yet were decent moral people? This has always troubled my soul. What do you say?
[/quote]

I, too, am having trouble dealing with the recent death of a very close and dear friend. She was born and raised Catholic, at least nominally, but in her youth or young adulthood fell away from the Church to the point of agnosticism and stayed away pretty much for the rest of her life. She died of cancer about five months ago, and though I sensed some softening in her during her final weeks, regarding belief in God and life after death, she didn’t really seem to have the reconversion I had so hoped and prayed for, at least not as far as I could tell.

But I guess the key thing to keep in mind is “as far as I could tell”.

We must always remember that God looks into our hearts, minds, and souls and sees what no man sees. Our Lord is a just and merciful judge, and if there were any mitigating factors or extenuating circumstances that caused or contibuted to someone falling away, or never being “churched” in the first place, then we must trust that He would take that into account. Remember, it is written that God’s mercy is greater than His justice.

I pray for my dear and beloved friend’s soul every day, without fail. I urge you to continue praying for your departed loved ones as well, in Christian hope, for their relief and release from purgatory.

God bless you.


#8

[quote=ceasar]no scripture that supports purgatory. when you become a christian you become a new creature. old things have passed away all things have become new. sin is no longer evident in your spirit. so if there’s no sin you are able to enter into heaven. and no scripture in the bible every referencing praying someone into heaven faster…gotta search out in the scripture to find out if what you believe is true…just don’t accept someones word for it…you HAVE to have scripture…

Ceasar
[/quote]

Wow, I guess that settles it! If you say it so, then it must be so!

I was going to put where Psalm 66:12, “Thou didst let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet thou hast brought us forth to a spacious place”, was thought by Origen and St. Ambrose to indicate the water being baptism and the fire begin purgatory.

Then I was going to show where Isaiah 4:4, “When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning”, was thought by St. Francis de Sales, to indicate Purgatory.

Also, Isaiah 6:5-7: “And I said: ‘Woe is me! for I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.’ Then flew one of the Seraphim to me, having in his hand a burning coal which he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth, and said: ‘Behold, this has touched your kips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin forgiven.’”

I was going to indicate where Maccabees prayed for their dead in order that “they might be delivered from their sin”, in 2 Timothy 1:16-18, Paul prayed, “May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus” after he had died, and how the Early Church Fathers prayed for the souls of the dead, as is indicated on the inscriptions of early crypts and tombs.

But nevermind, Caesar has spoken!

NotWorthy


#9

[quote=NotWorthy]…Origen and St. Ambrose to indicate the water being baptism and the fire begin purgatory…

…St. Francis de Sales, to indicate Purgatory…

[/quote]

This is what I was looking for! :slight_smile:

Thank you for the references. I will certainly look into them.


#10

[quote=piety101]I believe the hardest thing for me to come to grips with is really nice people who never attended church, but were my friends and died. Are they really burning in hell?.. What do you say?
[/quote]

I think it would be helpfull for you to look in the Catechism of the Catholic Church for some piece of mind. Check out paragraph 1260.

1260 "Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery."63 Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.

I believe anyone will benefit from prayers for the recently departed, but always keep in mind that they are not necessarily lost simply because they never found the Truth in the Catholic Church. As long as they searched the truth. The search is important, not just the find.

Robin


#11

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