Hello. I hope this is the right place to put this. I am asking this question because it’s puzzled me a little. My father committed suicide 5 years ago, which I know is very serious.
I am unsure of whether or not it is right to pray for him, since I don’t know if he is in hell or purgatory. Is there a way to know for sure? Is it all right for me to pray for his soul if I don’t know where he is?
Objectively commiting suicide is grave sin, but we cannot know if there were other factors involved that affected his decision making processes so that he isn’t culpable. Or he may have repented before he died. We cannot know for sure where his soul is now, I think it would be very appropriate to pray for him.
Always pray for those you aren’t certain are in hell, and since you can’t know for certain that anyone is in hell,… the charitable thing to do, the most loving thing to do, is to pray for the best disposition possible for your loved one.
To NOT pray would be a sin. The sin of presuming you know the decision of God regarding your loved one, which is loving yourself before God. The sin of uncharity toward your neighbor, your loved one.
By the same token, it would be wrong to assume your loved one went straight to heaven. My mother died this past May. My sister was offended when I said we must pray for her soul. She thinks mom went straight to heaven. While my mom was a very good person, she was not perfect. None of us are. It could well be that God, in His mercy, saw fit to take her straight to heaven, but I don’t know. I love her and don’t want to take the chance. No prayer is ever wasted. If she is not in purgatory and already in heaven, God will accept those prayers anyway.
Isn’t it interesting, how once you understand the “principles” that get discussed so much in here (these forums), you can SEE those little signs that people give you to let you know that you have some “teaching” to do…?
When that happens in my life, I can veritably see God giving me a winkand a smile and pointing His finger at the “problem” that I need to address.