how often to pray for the dead
“Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of Himself. As gold in the furnace, He proved them, and as sacrificial offerings He took them to Himself.” —Wisdom 3:5-6
The Lord has made it clear through various Jewish traditions (see 2 Mc 12:43-44), the early Church (see Mt 12:32), and the Church Fathers that we should pray for those who have died. Because the Church prays for the dead at Mass each day, it is safe to say that the Holy Spirit leads us to pray daily for the dead. However, we need to ask the Holy Spirit how often each day we should pray for the dead. It is important to serve the dead as much as the Lord wills because they depend on us greatly and our prayers make a great difference for them.
St. Augustine preached: “There is no sort of doubt that the dead are helped by the prayers of Holy Church and the sacrifice of salvation, and by alms” (Sermon 172). St. Augustine exhorted us to show “solicitude and care and zeal in offering up for them those things which help the spirits of the departed — alms, and prayers, and supplication” (ibid).
Pray for the dead daily and as frequently as the Lord wills. “Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.”
Prayer: Holy Spirit, help me in my weakness for I do not know how to pray for the dead as I ought (see Rm 8:26).
Promise: “This corruptible body must be clothed with incorruptibility; this mortal body with immortality.” —1 Cor 15:53
Praise: Purgatory is the antechamber to heaven; it is God’s “waiting room.” Through His mercy, He allows us to pray for deceased souls and assist them in their final passage to the beatific vision.
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