Grace to you!
There are many things unique about you and everyone else. Your color, voice, the choices you make, your thought process, your family, and your lineage are unique. Though others may share them, your attitudes, beliefs, and values are also unique. All of us carry our uniqueness everywhere we go. It is our identity.
From a sociological point of view, those who connect with your story connect with your uniqueness. Erase that uniqueness, and you erase some memory of you in the minds of people.
Suppose you don’t have any identity, any uniqueness or any history? Although this is impossible, if it were to happen, you would be gone like the wind in history. No one would ever remember you. Such would be appalling.
Observe what happened in many of the territories decimated by ISIS. Why did those heartless terrorists knockdown sacred images, icons, and statues? Why bulldoze churches and temples?
What ISIS did by destroying sacred places, was what many leaders did in the past against a conquered nation. They pulled down their iconic buildings or architecture. By so doing, they destroyed some of the physical reminders of a people’s history. Probably, the intent was to destroy their history, their memory, and their identity.
There is a strategic relevance to destroying people's history. When history is twisted or ruptured, the succeeding generations wouldn’t know their history or from where they come. When this is done effectively, the people of those generations wouldn't have a full sense of their identity. It is a travesty of justice and truth.
When God delivered the people of Israel from the land of captivity, we read that God commanded them to do an annual “ceremony of remembrance.” Deuteronomy 26 documents how they were to celebrate this feast.
Mainly, they were to narrate their history as a people. "And you shall make response before the Lord your God, ‘A wandering Aramean was my father; and he went down into Egypt and sojourned there, few in number; and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous” (Deuteronomy 26:5).
Tradition is memory. Sacred Tradition is the memory of God’s special relationship with His people revealed in Christ and witnessed by the apostles and their successors and the numerous faithful who share in life of Christ. This memory is constantly alive years, even after the resurrection of the Lord. Erasing that memory by discontinuity with the past, as some theologians and philosophers want many to do, is discontinuing the identity of God's people. Such a discontinuity isn't right.
Know this: Whenever we celebrate the lives of the saints, we celebrate an aspect of our history as God's holy people redeemed in Christ. Today is an example of that memory. We celebrate the lives of two apostles of the Lord called the princes of the Church, Saints Peter, and Paul. Their stories are fascinating.
The Lord Jesus Christ called each of them in different ways. Peter by the Sea of Galilee and Paul on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians. They were two different personalities who drank the cup of martyrdom in Rome—Peter by crucifixion upside down (AD 64), and Paul by beheading (AD 67).
We keep the memory of their life and testimony of faith alive. We continuously celebrate our leaders' lives, the lives of the saints, and models in faith because we believe that we are in communion with them. Those who die in Christ live on as the Scripture says (see Romans 6:8; 2 Timothy 2:11). It’s our memory. Let's not erase this memory. Never destroy your identity.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu.
[June 29, Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul]
Grace to you!
I reflect on a moving encounter between the Blessed Lord and a man suffering from leprosy in the Gospel of Matthew 8:1-4.
The Lord had finished the Sermon on the Mount. The sermon moved his audience in an incredible, astonishing way. They confessed they had never seen a speaker with such power and authority behind his word (Mt 7:28-29). After this, the Lord came down from the mountain.
It was clear that, at least, many of the astonished audience committed to following him. His words were like never they had seen. The power of God's Word feels the same to anyone who has opened their hearts as Christ speaks through his Word in Scripture and the Church's liturgy. In both, he continues to speak and minister grace to those of us in need of it.
I suspect the Leper must also have been listening from a distance. Or someone may have told him about this great speaker with power in their midst. The seed of faith was sown in his heart. "Faith comes by hearing" (Rom 10:17). He embraced it and encountered far deeper healing, which began when his heart stirred to reach out to the Lord.
I was fascinated by the movement from the Lord to the man and back to the Lord. We read that the Lord came down, then the crowd followed him (Mt 8:1). In our Christian life, the initiative is always God's first. We do not choose God first. God chooses us first and commissions us to bear fruit (Jn 15:16). From Abraham's call to the last person that will ever receive the gift of faith in Christ, God makes the first choice for us. So, Jesus taught and sowed the seed of renewal and then came down so people could receive even more of the incredible grace of his life.
One could also relate this to the Incarnation's mystery that God stooped and became like us so we can become Godly. God revealed to us the God-self so we can be elevated to the God-life.
Though God begins the entire process and nurtures it, we must respond so that the healing grace will renew us. One would not expect God to force himself on us. It is not in Divine character to do so. The Divine approach is like a gentle knock at the door, as the Lord patiently waits for us to open the door and welcome him (Rev 3:20) and heal.
We read about the Leper doing just that, welcoming the divine invitation. He came to Jesus
“and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, if you will [wish], you can make me clean" (Mt 8:2).
He didn’t just come as a spectator. He came with a goal. He wasn’t a fan. He was a believer. More importantly, he came with a reverent heart. He knelt—a gesture of reverence and prayer—and prayed for his need. He may not have had a deepened faith that knows that God's love and compassionate heart is already pursuing the wounded. But he sure had sufficient faith as to hang on to the belief in the power of Christ to save and heal him.
By saying to the Lord, "If you wish," he was confessing, he believed the Lord had the power to do so. This was an incredible faith since, at the time, nobody (except the Blessed Virgin Mary) knew Jesus was God.
"If you wish" is also a confession of the man's hopelessness before this sickness that has ostracized him from the community. It was a sort of tone of "you are my last resort for healing."
Finally, "if you wish" was the man's disposition to accept the will of God. It was a tacit acknowledgment that he was not pursuing the Lord because of the miracles he may expect but seeking the Lord's will. "If you wish" could also be seen as "thy will be done."
We know the Lord cares. We know the Lord wishes, wills that all be saved and come to him. We know the Lord does not lose anyone who has come to him.
Hence, Jesus did the miracle with an additional flavor of a touch of his hands. He didn't need to do so, because if he spoke his word on the sick, they heal. But he stretches out his hand and touches the infected spots. By so doing, he identifies with the man's brokenness, renewing his mortal body with his divine body. The meeting of our weak body by the Divine life is the healing that endures.
Do you need healing from your wounds of sin? Are you in need of healing from other pains of the body and soul? Is your loved one or family in need of such? Today's encounter is a witness to the healing power of grace.
The Lord is already waiting. He is waiting at your corner and in your home. He wishes to speak to you in Scripture and to feed and encounter you in a more profound way at the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). The Lord is with us and within us. He is present so you can be healed. Speak to him and heal. “By his wounds, we are healed” (Is 53:5).
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu.
[Friday Ordinary Time Week 12: 2 Kings 25:1-12; Matthew 8:1-4]
Grace to you!
There is wisdom in how the Catholic Church, plus some Protestant Churches, ranks the feast days of the saints in the Breviary, or Missal (The Church's liturgical book with the prayers and instructions for the Mass). In their order of priority are the feasts that relate to the Trinity—the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Father. Next is the feast of the dedication of the Church. Following it is the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of the Lord, who is the first among the saints. Then comes the feast of the apostles. After the apostles is the feast of the martyrs. Then come others such as the common of pastors, doctors of the Church, and the virgins. Also are the celebration of the men saints, women saints, religious, saints noted for works of mercy and saints for educators, in that order.
Observe that the feast of the martyrs comes right after the feast of the apostles. There is wisdom in the Church's beatification and canonization processes—that is, the process of declaring someone a saint). Also, did you know that no extraordinary miracles or "first-class" miracles are required to canonize somebody who was a martyr for the faith in Christ? Martyrdom is, in itself, the ultimate act of heroic virtue. It tells us how the Church looks at the sacrifice of martyrdom.
I tell you, the great courage of Michael Nnadi, speaks volumes of the audacity of faith. He never ceased bearing witness to Christ amidst the tortuous of the evil kidnappers. He was a seminarian from the Diocese of Sokoto, Nigeria. On January 9, 2020, he was kidnapped alongside three other seminarians in the Good Shepherd Seminary, Kaduna, in the Northern part of Nigeria. One of the abductors' confessions that Michael lost his life for courageously bearing witness to Christ is a testimony of sainthood and courage of faith. No miracle supersedes that of giving one's life for faith in Christ. Martyrdom beats all sacrifices.
Hence, the worst sin a believer could commit is apostasy, which could be incremental or definitive. It means renouncing or abandoning one's faith in God. Often, this is more evident when it is done publicly. If one can't hold on to the core of one's faith in the Risen Lord when small trials come, how would one do so when there is an immediate danger to one's life?
One of the New Testament synonyms for witnessing is martyrdom. Thus, just like martyrdom is the highest form of the witness, the lowest point of non-witness to Christ is apostasy. Therefore, nothing is worth falling into the temptation of this low point of spiritual darkness. Nothing!
To publicly reject the Lord or rather to deny him is to shut the door to the way, the truth, and the life. It is to place oneself on the wrong side of the aisle of divine mercy and justice. It is choosing Sheol, a metaphor for a horrible state in life and eternity.
Are there difficulties and trials that are daring our faith, or causing us to reconsider our faith in the Risen Lord? The Lord encourages us to be courageous. "Fear not... so, everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven" (Mt 10:31-33).
The above may sound harsh to some. Some may say it is old theology and irrelevant in the context of today. Yet beneath it lies the true courage of witnessing to Christ. If a compromising spirit relating to the truth and identity of Jesus Christ is ideal, I believe the Lord would have schooled the disciples on the art of doing so. He would have mentored them on the best tactics of diplomacy to compromise and better negotiation tactics to avoid persecution. He would have told them how faith in him depends on situations and not something for which one has to die. He would have advised them to allow the context and the world they live in to determine what aspect of his teachings they should accept or not accept. But he didn't.
In matters of the choice between what is evil and what is good and righteous, the Lord doesn't propose a middle ground. There is no need to negotiate with the devil because there is no goodwill at the negotiation table of the demonic. It is all deceit for the devil is true to its character—Father of Lies (Jn 8:44).
There is something about the Good News of salvation, which Jesus is and brings to us, that stares us in the face. It is overtly daring. First were the excellent teaching and demonstration of Jesus' identity during the Sermon on the Mount. There the Lord proposes everything other than the conventional. Here again (in Mt 10:26-33), the Lord encourages believers to have the courage of witnessing even when it entails martyrdom. The Letter to the Hebrews describes such a commitment to the Gospel as holding on "up to the point of shedding your blood" (Heb 12:4).
Practically, being on the side of God wasn't easy for Jeremiah in the Old Testament. It won him more enemies than friends. He was martyred for it too. It wasn't easy for any of the pioneers of the faith, the early Church. How do we expect that ours will be a cozy laurel in a comfy world? To think so is to daydream.
Scary truth? Certainly. But it needs to be told.
The Lord is frank, as well as encouraging us to take the bull by the horn. The kingdom of God isn't semblance with the ways of the world. Otherwise, it wouldn't be prepped on the wood of the cross. Instead, it is won because the saving blood dropped from that wood of the cross for many. Courage!
Those ways or things that would dull Christ in our life don't deserve our affection. If we stand up to them and reflect Christ, we will share in the glory of the martyrs. We receive glory because in little things, those small temptations and trials, and subtle lures against holiness, we fought like spiritual marines, armed in faith and blessed by grace. Crown is assured in Christ.
I am praying for the grace of courage and endurance in moments of trials. Amen
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time A: Jer 20:10-13; Rom 5:12-15; Mt 10:26-33]
Grace to you and Happy Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity!
Once Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen was asked to explain the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. He warned the audience that no matter how erudite his explanation may be, it would still not be clear. He went on with the teaching for about two hours.
After the talk, a woman approached him and said, “Now I understand the mystery of the Trinity very well.”
To which he replied, "Then you didn't understand it at all."
My reflection here isn't likely to be a refutation-proof explanation of the mystery of the Trinity. I gladly embrace my limitations in this matter.
We believe this mystery through the gift of faith. God gives this gift, so we can gradually understand what we do not know about divinity. To be sure, there are many things we do not know about ourselves, let alone about nature and the spiritual. It calls for a humble disposition. Have faith first. Couple it with humble openness to the truth. Then we will be surprised by insights beyond us. If you don't' believe, and you want to, pray for the light of faith. It's a gift worth more than gold.
Although the word “Trinity" is not found in Scripture, the concept and idea, that is, the truth that God is three persons in one is biblical. Those who insist that every word must be in the Bible before they accept it as the Word of God, take note. It was an African Catholic theologian, Tertullian (155-230 AD), who coined the word Trinity (from Latin – Trinitas). He used it to designate the revealed truth, which is also in the Bible, that God is triune. The Church solemnly defined the doctrine at the First Council of Nicaea (325 AD) in the refutation of Arian heresy (Arianism). Arianism denied the divinity of Jesus Christ.
Right from the time of the apostles, the early Church was on board regarding this biblical truth. Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, spoke about the Father who sent him (the Son) and about the Holy Spirit whom he was going to send. There are numerous places in the Bible where Jesus talked about his relationship with the Father and the Holy Spirit. [For your private readings and meditations, see Genesis 1:26; 3:22; Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19; John 1:1-51; 10:30-36; 14:16-17, 26; I Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; 13:14; Ephesians 4:4-6; Colossians 2:9; Philippians 2:5-8; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 John 5:7-8, etc.]
In Christian salvation history, we usually attribute the work of creation to the Father, redemption to the Son, and sanctification to the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, though they are distinct as persons, neither the Father nor the Son nor the Holy Spirit exists or acts in isolation from the other two persons of the one God.
Like Saint Augustine, another African theologian, we may not be able to understand the how of the Trinity fully. Still, I think it is essential to understand part of the why. Why did God reveal to us this mystery regarding the very nature of his Supreme Being? God created us in his image and likeness. The more we understand God, the more we know ourselves.
As believers, a relevant question for us to ask today may be: What does the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity teach us about the God we worship? What does this say about the kind of people we should be? On this, I have two points to share with you here.
1. God does not exist in solitary individualism. God is in a "community" of love and sharing. It is the self-outpouring of God that we cherish as life in Christ and the beauty of all things. Faith is an embrace of this outpouring of Divine Love. Revelation is God breaking forth into creaturely order, so in grace we know and love as we are known and loved. It is in the very nature of God who pours God's self to us.
Thus, a Christian seeking a deepened Godly life (Mt 5:48) shuns the tendency to isolationism. We live not just for ourselves but also for others and ultimately for the Lord. Saint Paul tells us, "None of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone" (Rm 14:7). Glory is in living beyond ourselves. It is in embracing a divine outpouring of love.
2. Agape love, that distinctive sacrificial love which Christians should emulate from our Lord Jesus Christ, requires three—God, thou and me. We believe God made us in his image and likeness. Just as God is God in a Trinitarian relationship, so we can be fully human in relationships. The self needs to be in a relationship with others and a relationship with God. By so doing, our life becomes Trinitarian like that of God.
The doctrine of the Blessed Trinity inspires us to adopt an God-me-and-neighbor principle. Our life becomes a pleasant orbit with God at the core in the warmth of relationships with others. The I-alonism or the me-me syndrome does not assure us of this warmth of love. Neither does it guarantee an enduring joy of being who God has created us to be in love. Living in a relationship of love with God and others is socially healthier than exclusive individualism. It is a wealth far more glorious and valuable than egocentrism, narcissism, tribalism, and racism.
Seeing each other, no matter our race, class, and background as equal in love and dignity is living in the light of the Trinity. In such is the harmony of divine presence among us. It is humanity at its best.
May the Holy Trinity's grace help us overcome self-centeredness and live in the love of God and love of neighbor. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. Readings: Year A: Exodus 34:4B-6, 8-9; 2 Cor 13:11-13; Jn 3:16-18]
Grace to you!
Have you ever been in a meeting where participants seem to compete with who has more accomplishments? It is all about them, and how good or accomplished they are? How did you receive those kinds of conversations? How did you feel? Did their praise of themselves win your affection?
There could be gains in showing what one has accomplished. There are places where this may be appropriate. But in matters of deeper and transforming life in Christ, a flamboyant demeanor is a spiritual bottleneck. Putting ourselves on a pedestal, or allowing others to do so for us, is a recipe for spiritual emptiness. We do not heal our insecurities by doing so.
The Lord Jesus uses two classes of people to contrast the way of humble service and ostentatious bravado. The latter he discourages using the example of the Scribe. The former is Saint Mark’s version of the Widow's Mite (see Mk 12:38-44).
Biblical experts, which I am not, could tell us so much about the intricacies of these events. Two things are happening as if in the same day or chronologically. They may give us some background as to why and how the events and teachings were arranged the way they are. They could also go into distinctions of form and historical, textual, and literary criticisms of the text.
As a believer and a person of the simple faith that does incredible miracles, one sees the inspired narratives as arranged in order. As is, they sound like music to the ear and a symphony of incredible divine messages, God's inspired word.
I see the two events as two acts in the implementation of a faith-centered life of service. The first is what not to do as a believer. The second is what to do, the better way to go.
What not to do is the showiness of the sampled Scribes. The Lord says they like to display their claims to moral superiority for public praise. They love places of honor and embrace sycophantic gestures. I would say they are like the politicians who have a knack for PR and public accolades. It is not the way to go in following the Lord. In other words, the way of the gospel calls us to an honest and unassuming lifestyle.
Contrast the above with the recommendations of what to do. It is seen in the example of that poor widow (Mk 12:41-44), who no one noticed but whose offerings to the Lord was a total giving of self from the poverty and lowliness of heart. Saint Luke uses two Greek adjectives to describe this woman. She was not only poor (Lk 21:2); she was utterly destitute (Lk 21:3). One could say she was without hope about sustenance about tomorrow. Her humble disposition could be compared to the Mother of the Lord, whom God exalts from her humble state (Lk 1:48). It is because they do not seek exaltation but selfless love, loyalty, and service they are exalted. Exaltation becomes the fruit of their humble commitments to selfless offerings.
Those acceptable before God learn the great secret that the way to glory is from a humble, lowly state. They are also those who know that loyalty to God entails being broken to self and being ready to pour oneself for a higher cause. Those know that only when what we love so much is set free can it be an incredible asset, a great value to humanity.
God shows us a great model in the Son. Jesus Christ loved his own that he demonstrated it in the self-emptying of the cross. Nothing is lost in a keen sense of selfless sacrifice. But everything is lost in preservation without the risk of emptying unto others. When the values we cherish are lived out or set free, they become transformative; impacting and benefiting others.
Dare to offer your priceless gift of self and values in the humble service of God and others, in whichever way possible. Nothing is lost. Everything is gained. "Those who sow in tears reap with rejoicing" (Ps 126:5).
Praying for the grace to execute in humble service, using the values we cherish. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu.
[Readings, Saturday, Week 9: 2 Timothy 4:1-8; Mk 12:38-44]
Grace to you!
One of the memorable conversations I had as a seminarian was dialoguing with a skeptic who insisted that he didn't believe that there is resurrection. Ill-equipped to dialogue with him, his position left me thinking. I was still a teen at the time, with the simple faith of a boy.
But I managed to say something that I didn't know made a huge impact on his life. I said to him: In that case, our life here on earth is nothing but mere material existence with no value beyond what we have now. He wanted to nod in affirmation, but I sensed a sort of hesitancy to his agreement.
A couple of days passed, he invited me back to his home. He told me he thought genuinely about what I said and asked to hear more about resurrection and the meaning of life beyond death. It happened that in the end, he felt a deeper hunger to be a Christian. God bless his heart for opening it to the grace of new life in Christ.
The issue of resurrection is core in many religious traditions. It is one of the most debated topics in philosophy and theology. In Christianity, it is not straightforward either. There are various views. They include those who claim everyone is resurrected (saved) and those who say there is no resurrection, just like the Sadducees in the Gospel of Mark 12:18-27. There is also the orthodox teaching of the Church that the righteous, those saved by God’s grace through faith and charity, rise to a new life in Christ.
There are also many other arguments on how resurrection occurs. It includes whether we rise with the same body, a transformed body, or no form of our body. There are various arguments to this debate as well, which are not within the scope of our reflection. There is also the issue of when the resurrection occurs or will occur. Among them include those who say it will happen when Christ comes back to the earth and establish a new world of heaven and earth (amillennialists). There is a second camp that emphasizes it will be after the “age of the millennium," after which all will know Christ. The Christian faith will dominate the world. Then Christ will come, and resurrection will occur. It is the so-called postmillennialism. There is another argument that it will be after the return of Christ on earth, and his second reign for a millennium. Then there will be the resurrection of humanity. This view is known as premillennialism. Plus, a few other nuanced views.
One can see how complicated this issue could be. But the Lord has a way of making the truth of the Gospel accessible to a simple heart. He speaks to a Sadducee who doubts the resurrection about how valid and trusting one must be of God who is alive and for whom, those who die in him live on in glory. God is not of the dead but God of the living (see Mark 12:18-27).
At the resurrection, it is not a new version of our earthly life. It is a new life in Christ. Such life is lived like those of the angels. Resurrection, the Lord assures us, is for real. And the life of the resurrection is the fulfillment of all our desires, for we shall see God face to face. We shall behold the face of our Lord (I Jn 3:2).
I pray that we may know and love Christ, and the power of the grace of resurrection he gives. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Readings, Wednesday, Week 9: 2 Timothy 1:1-3, 6-12; Mark 12:18-27]
Grace to you!
Today, the Catholic Church celebrates All Souls. It’s a day we remember and pray in a special way for all the faithful who have passed; those who died marked with the sign of faith. We, as believers, want to keep the memory of those people and to connect spiritually with them while asking for God’s grace of mercy and purification on their behalf.
During yesterday’s reflection, I shared some thoughts about All Saints, those who are already in heaven. I also echoed the Church’s teaching that believers on earth are in spiritual communion with those in heaven (Church Triumphant), and those who have died, en route to heaven, those under the purifying grace and mercy of God – what we Catholics call Purgatory. So the feast of All Saints makes our celebration of the cycle of this spiritual relationship complete.
The cycle is a memory, a spiritual connection between the Saints on earth, the Saints in heaven, and the dead Saints in transit. Should we lose memories of those souls? Is it out of order to connect with them? Definitely not.
Actually, praying for the dead is biblical and consistent with Judeo-Christian Theology. 2 Maccabees 12 talks about sacrifice offerings for the dead so God will show them mercy. Though Protestants reject the canonicity of this book as part of the bible, it is an authentic Jewish historical book. For us Catholics, it is part of the Bible.
Purgatory is a colorful concept derived from the Latin word Purgare (purgatorius, purgatorium)—which means, “to purify” (purifying). So, the Church believes that at death, when no one else could help oneself, the grace of God, the grace of purification takes over. Analogical to Pauline teaching about judgment and the purification by fire which some would pass before they are saved (I Corinthians 3:11-15), purgatory reflects that experience of purification by fire.
Thus, Purgatory is not a place like a safe-house after death or a location somewhere in the space where souls are kept waiting for heaven; instead, it is a spiritual state during which divine purification (thanks to the grace and mercy of God) cleanses a soul, making the person holy for God; a purification without which the person can’t see God. Remember that the Bible says nothing unholy [impure] can enter heaven (Revelation 21:27).
Why do we pray for the dead over and over again? Isn’t one prayer or one Mass enough?
I recall when I argued with my Mom, (forgive me, it isn’t the right thing to do) about praying for a sick person in the hospital. She wanted more and more prayers offered for that woman. Whereas I thought, Mom, I have prayed enough for this. She advised me that I couldn’t pray enough; no prayer is wasted. See in that story an imagery similar to our usual understanding of the value of prayer.
We are our brother’s and sister’s keeper and the Lord Jesus Christ wants us to share in the spiritual wellbeing of the saints. Our prayers for the dead are our Christian sacrificial offerings on their behalf. God listens. Graces overflow because of the prayer of the saints as well.
God has given us the privilege to be part of the grace-moment for the saints. Our prayers could do that miracle of saving a soul. Who would not love to be associated with being part of the heaven-story, of final homecoming of the dead? I would.
Moreover, we pray for them so we may have peace with the situation. Praying for the dead brings closure to them, as well as to us. It helps them as it helps us. After praying for the repose of my loved ones, I feel peace within my soul, which assures me I am doing the right thing. This is not some mere emotional satisfaction, it happens deep within the soul and I know it.
When my youngest brother died, I had peace with his death after I offered nine days Mass intention for his soul. There are many testimonies like this and tons of books written about testimonies concerning prayer for souls in Purgatory.
Since we do not know who is in heaven and who is not, except the canonized Saints; and since we do not know how long it takes from the last hours of purification to glory—in eternity, there is no time and space—let’s be generous with our prayers. Remember, after death, there is no more concept of time, we belong to eternity where there is no morning or night, and before the Lord, the bible says, a thousand years is like yesterday come and gone (Psalm 90:4).
Let’s keep the prayers coming for the souls in the state of purification. Keep in mind that no prayer offered in memory of our loved ones is a waste. Those prayers help us. They help our departed brothers and sisters. They help many who have no one to pray for them. They help you too, who have lost a loved one.
May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.