What if the person is already in Heaven?

All -

Some prayers are for a soul in Purgatory, such as “The Chaplet Of All Souls”, AKA “The Chaplet Of Our Lady’s Tears”, ourladystears.blogspot.com/2007/09/chaplet-of-all-souls.html .

So, suppose such a prayer is offered for a specific intention, Person_X.

So, what does one do and how does the matter shake out, on several fronts, such as the following?

Does one assume that Person_X is in Purgatory rather than Heaven? Is doing so lack of Hope? Maybe that is not lack of Hope given that there is the Other Place as an option and one is not assuming the Other Place is where Person_X is?

Does one assume that Person_X is in Heaven rather than Purgatory? Is that presumption? Etc.

Also, and this is REALLY an interesting question I think-- what if one prays for a soul thinking that that soul is Purgatory but that soul is already in Heaven. Aside from some chuckling in Heaven, what “happens” to that prayer intention? The person in Heaven does not “need” the prayer to help him/her out of Purgatory because he/she is already out. I think that I remember hearing somewhere, I forget where, that theologians have speculated that, given that “Jesus does not waste anything”, such prayers are (effectively) re-purposed to another soul that IS in need of it.

I know that, obviously, Love is not a “zero sum game” and that the pool is infinite (thanks to God) but I am just wondering about the matter.

This is a very temporal and physical-side question, I know, and that is the mood of my reflection right now and “Jesus, I trust in you” but sometimes it is interesting and (perhaps?) profitable if,in case there is some way to pray more efficaciously.

I think that Father Corapi (and others) simply turn the distribution of the all Graces merited by prayer to the Virgin Mother Mary via Concecration of Saint Louis De Monfort (sp?), I think, trusting that she will magnify and bring said prayers to her Son, and so that kind of solves the matter about such matters. But, the question, at least for me and at lease in theory (and beyond) still remains.

So, there is some scratching at the mystery, prayerfully, and I am wondering if you know of any Saintly writings on the matters, Church doctrine, etc, and (of course) please do add your own thoughts. I expect, as with much of like matters, there is much speculation and theory but the real answer is “we do not know”.

But if “theologians” ponder such matters then why not a child too?

Well, that is the gist of the question and I would be most grateful to hear your thoughts on the matter and any dimension that you might add to such inquiry, to the sole end of knowing and serving and loving Jesus, of course.

So, what do you think?

Slave to Jesus The Lord, I am…

  • Mark Kamoski

In the absence of canonization or martyrdom, we must not presume that someone is already in Heaven.

Pretty much everybody is going to have to do Purgatory, just because we did so much sinnin’ and not nearly enough penance.

So it is always good to pray for someone who dies. If they are in fact in Heaven, the prayers will simply be used to help somebody else.

He is risen, ICXC NIKA

I wouldn’t worry about prayers being wasted…even if they are in heaven, I’m sure they are able to put the prayers to good use.


Prayer is never wasted. If I pray for Joe Schmoe, and it turns out he’s already in Heaven, that prayer will do some good. Maybe Joe Schmoe will decide where, maybe our Lord will.

Love is never wasted.

I was trying to find some quotes to articulate it better. But I didn’t have much luck. I’ve heard it said though that you should assume that they are in purgatory, because we never know for sure. So pray for them just in case. If they have already made it to heaven God will give your prayer to another poor soul.

'One child would say, “My Jesus, for the love of you I am going to learn my school lessons, and I offer this for the souls in Purgatory.” Another child would say, “My Jesus, for the love of you, I am going to sew, or to take a walk, and I offer this for the souls in Purgatory.” Another child would do an act of self-mortification. It would say, “My Jesus, for the love of you I will not eat this sweet thing, and I offer this for the souls in Purgatory.” As St. Paul said, “I rejoice in my sufferings for the Church.” 1 Col. i.

If the children only knew how, when they do so, they take away the sufferings of the poor souls in Purgatory, they would always be offering all their good works for the souls in Purgatory.

Sometime a prayer which had been said, or a good work which had been done for some particular soul, was not given to that soul. Perhaps that soul was already gone out of Purgatory, or for some other reason known to God. But still that prayer was not lost, for it was given to some other soul according as it pleased God. When anybody on earth was praying for the souls in Purgatory, Almighty God seemed very much pleased and grateful to that person for praying for the dear souls in Purgatory. But nothing could equal the thankfulness of these poor souls themselves when they felt that somebody was praying for them in the world.

The spirits which are in the other world know things which are done on this earth. “The angels of God know and rejoice when a sinner on earth does penance.” Luke xv. Long and fervently did the souls in Purgatory pray for those who on earth prayed for them. How God listens to the prayers of his dear souls in Purgatory, St. Catherine of Bologna tells us. She says that she obtained, by the prayers of the souls in Purgatory, many things for which she had prayed to the saints in Heaven, and had not received them.’

  • Fr. John Furniss, ‘The Great Question’, ‘The Soul in Purgatory’

Prayers are never wasted.

If somebody you are praying for is in Heaven that prayer will be for someone in Puragtory.

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