Today is All Souls Day. It has been a long-held belief of the Church that when we die God’s love purifies us as we prepare to enter the fullness of life in Heaven.
For example, a mass murderer, a leader in genocide, is about to die. He has done great evil in his life. However, as he lays dying he repents from his sins and asks God for forgiveness. He even goes to confession.
God will forgive those sins. However, the great evils that the man has done have greatly affected him. While he is moving from this life to Heaven, God purifies this weakness of spirit that his evil acts have done, and prepares him for Heaven.
Of course, when we die we are beyond the realm of time, we have entered the realm of eternity.
It has been a long-held belief of the Church, and even of times in the Old Testament, that our prayers, our love, joined to God’s love, will help that person as they prepare to enter Heaven and help in their purification.
Just as we pray for each other here on earth, we can pray for those who have died and are being thus purified.
We are a great Communion of love as Christians.
Those still on earth who have died and are in the process of purification we call ‘Purgatory’, and those who are now already in Heaven, belong to each other. We are one big family.
Praying for those who have died is a good, noble and loving thing to do.
On All Souls Day we are reminded that we not only pray for our family and friends who have died; we pray for all.
We pray especially for those who have no-one to pray for them.
So when we offer Mass for someone who has died, or offer some other prayer, it is about love.