Novo Hamburg, Brazil (Thursday, 30-10-2014, Gaudium Press) “A noble and remarkable action is to pray for the deceased” This is the title of the most recent article published by Bishop Antonio Carlos Rossi Keller, of Novo Hamburg, in the State Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. He comments one of the readings of All Souls Day, from the book of Maccabees, which tells us that the pious people of Israel used to pray for the dead and he praises them. For the Prelate, this is a confirmation of the existence of Purgatory, a place of purification, and of the need to pray for those who died in the Grace of God.
According to him, by all being united in Christ, through his Mystical Body, we can help our brothers and sisters who are suffering the punishments of purgatory. The compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in no. 211, states that through the communion of the Saints, the faithful who are still pilgrims on earth are able to help the souls in purgatory by offering prayers for them, especially the Eucharistic sacrifice, but also with charity works, indulgences and penance.
Bishop Rossi Keller encourages us to share this charity with all the souls in purgatory, especially with those who belong to our own families. He reminds us that in the famous autobiographical book of the bishop of Hippo, “Confessions”, St. Agustin tells us that his mother, St Monica, asked him and his brother not to make any big spending on her funeral, or moving her body to her homeland, in North Africa, but that the only thing she really wanted was to remember her on God’s altar. For the Bishop people should take note of this instead of spending too much money on burial flowers which are less useful than Masses offered for the souls of the deceased, or giving alms in their names, or just praying for them.
“When praying for the deceased, we are doing an act of faith in resurrection, as it is mentioned in the book of the Maccabees. We express our desire to meet them in heaven” he explains.
Besides he explains that we, by helping them, we can request their intercession because they are holy souls and friends of God. According to him, those souls cannot see us, as the Saints do see us from heaven, but they can hear our prayers.
Finally Bishop Rossi Keller states that Purgatory is more than a place of suffering. He believes that the greatest suffering is to be deprived of the vision of God, and secondly the purifying fire. But on the other hand they enjoy the tremendous joy of being loved by God with the certainty that they are on their way to Heaven.
“We ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, also called Our Lady of the Good Death, to help us to shorten our purgatory by taking advantage of our suffering on earth and of our good works. And by practicing charity towards our departed brothers and sisters” he concludes. (FB)