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Thursday, November 2, 2006

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All Souls

Wisdom 3:1-9
1 Corinthians 15:51-57
Psalm 23
John 6:37-40

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prayer on the other side of death

"Those who trust in Him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with Him in love." —Wisdom 3:9

Today the Church calls us to pray for the dead, since we believe death does not necessarily mean immediate entry into heaven or hell. The Bible indicates this when Paul mentions the Corinthian practice of baptizing the dead by proxy (1 Cor 15:29). Also, Judas' providing sacrifices for the dead is considered "excellent and noble" (2 Mc 12:43). In addition to these Scriptural references, the Holy Spirit has taught believers over the centuries to pray for the dead and confirmed this practice by repeated prophecies.

Even so, most people are confused or at least doubtful about praying for the dead, and therefore we pray only sporadically for the dead, if at all. The Lord would have us be "clear about those who sleep in death" (1 Thes 4:13). He does not want us to yield to grief or apathy but wants us to be clear about praying for the dead and to pray with commitment. "Do not continue in ignorance, but try to discern the will of the Lord" (Eph 5:17).

Read the Scriptures we have just mentioned, since faith comes through hearing the word of Christ (Rm 10:17). Ask the Spirit to teach you everything and guide you to all truth (Jn 14:26; 16:13). Don't spend your time in an interior doctrinal debate but listen to Him. "God is a God, not of confusion, but of peace" (1 Cor 14:32). Let the Lord speak to you and show you new things in His word. He will show us how to pray. "The Spirit too helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us" (Rm 8:26).

Prayer:  Jesus, by Your resurrection-victory over death and by the power of the Holy Spirit, may a dead relative be sanctified completely and enter Your kingdom.

Promise:  "No one who comes will I ever reject." —Jn 6:37

Praise:  Praise Jesus, "the Shepherd, the Guardian" of our souls! (1 Pt 2:25) Praise Jesus, the Resurrection and the Life! (Jn 11:25)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 6, 2006

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