Living in the Two Hearts

My Spiritual Insights and Musings

Prayers and Purification…

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on May 3, 2009

This next segment address our prayers for those who are in Purgatory, and their prayers for us.  As I have always said and written, PRAYER IS POWERFUL.  It does far more for the Kingdom of God than we can ever realize. Oh that wonderful day, we we stand before Jesus and the Father and are shown just what are prayers helped to do!

May the Divine Assistance always remain with us,
and may the Faithfully Departed, through
the Mercy of God,
Rest in Peace.


Now, what about those souls who, have no idea that they can experience a cleansing suffering on earth, die, call out to God for mercy, and find themselves in the state of purification for entrance into heaven?

“All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.” (CCC§1030)

Can they be assisted or helped by us who still reside on earth?  The answer, YES!   The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that:

By virtue of the “communion of saints,” the Church commends the dead to God’s mercy and offers her prayers, especially the holy sacrifice of the Eucharist, on their behalf. (CCC§1055)


Since Abraham, intercession – asking on behalf of another – has been characteristic of a heart attuned to God’s mercy. In the age of the Church, Christian intercession participates in Christ’s, as an expression of the communion of saints. In intercession, he who prays looks “not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others,” even to the point of praying for those who do him harm (CCC§2635)

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others…
~Phil 2:4

And he (St. Stephen) knelt down and cried with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. ~Acts 7:60

And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” ~Lk 23:34a

It is with our prayers and our sacrifices and especially with the Sacrifice of the Mass that assist those who have cried out at the hour of death and received God’s Mercy and are now undergoing purification:

By our actions, we can assist our deceased brothers and sisters in obtaining heaven, a practice that actually goes back to before the time of Christ:

This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: “Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.” From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God. The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead:

Let us help and commemorate them. If Job’s sons were purified by their father’s sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them (cf. Job 1:5). (CCC§1032)

But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. ~ Job 23:10 (the book of Job is considered the oldest book in the bible)

Can those in the state of Purgatory pray for us?  Another resounding, YES!

“Communion with the dead. ‘In full consciousness of this communion of the whole Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, the Church in its pilgrim members, from the very earliest days of the Christian religion, has honored with great respect the memory of the dead; … Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us [more] effective”. (CCC§958)

Without having seen Him you love Him; though you do not now see Him you believe in Him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy. As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls. ~1 Peter 1: 8-9


“In the one family of God. ‘For if we continue to love one a another and to join in praising the Most Holy Trinity – all of us who are sons of God and form one family in Christ – we will be faithful to the deepest vocation of the Church’ (cf. LG§51). (CCC§959)

That is to pray for one another – both enemies and friends (cf. Mt 5:44) – so that the Kingdom of God may be obtained for humanity; and since we are not separated from Christ either in life or in death:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 8: 35, 38-39

Neither are we separated from our Brethren who died in the friendship of Christ:

“So it is that the union of the wayfarers with the brethren who sleep in the peace of Christ is in no way interrupted, but on the contrary, according to the constant faith of the Church, this union is reinforced by an exchange of spiritual goods.” (CCC§955)

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and up-builds itself in love. ~ Eph 4: 15-16

We pray for them and help hurry along their purification; they pray for us to help encourage us to seek holy purification while we are on earth and while we still have the time and opportunity to do so.

Since the faithful departed now being purified are also members of the same communion of saints, one way we can help them is to obtain indulgences for them, so that the temporal punishments due for their sins may be remitted. (CCC§1479)

When the disciples heard this they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” ~ Mt 19:25-26

We have the fullness of the Mystical Body of Christ: The Church Triumphant – those who have achieved Heaven; the Church Militant – that’s us still on earth working out our salvation and assisting heaven with many of our fellow creatures; and those who have died but require final purification in the state of Purgatory:

The three states of the Church: “When the Lord comes in glory, and all His angels with Him, death will be no more and all things will be subject to Him. But at the present time some of His disciples are pilgrims on earth. Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory, contemplating in full light, God Himself Triune and One, exactly as He is.” (CCC§954)

All of us, however, in varying degrees and in different ways share in the same charity towards God and our neighbors, and we all sing the one hymn of glory to our God. All, indeed, who are of Christ and who have his Spirit form one Church and in Christ, cleave together.
(cf. LG§49)

Previous Posts:

Purgatory: An Introduction
Continuing on Purgatory

2 Responses to “Prayers and Purification…”

  1. Hi, interesting post. I have been wondering about this topic,so thanks for writing. I will certainly be coming back to your posts. Keep up the good work

    • Anne Elizabeth said

      Thank you for the encouragement! I hope that in your continuing betterment of body, God may help you attend to your soul by encouraging you through writings like these. May God bless you in all your efforts!
      Affectionately in the Two Hearts!
      ~ Anne Elizabeth =-)

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