Saturday 4th December 2021

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

A Leaven In The World . . . The Catholic Devotion Of Praying For The Dead

November 12, 2013 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK

Visitors to Rome and to its catacombs may learn of the Roman custom of visiting the tombs of departed family members. The Roman family members would take a picnic meal out to the Appian Way, for example, as the dead were buried outside the official city limits. During the meal they would perform a ritual of pouring wine into holes carved into the tomb as a way of sharing the goods of this life to help the dead on their way to eternal life.

This “refrigerium,” or refreshment of the deceased, has made its way into our prayer of the Roman canon of the Mass, where we beg God on behalf of the dead that they may be granted “refreshment, light, and peace” in the next world.

The Christian “cult of the dead” or devotion to prayer for the souls of the faithful departed certainly has roots in the Roman culture with its practice of the “refrigerium,” but in Christ that has come to mean a completely new reality: the suffrage of prayers as effective for the mercy of God upon those who may await purification so as to enter eternal beatitude. This life of prayer in Christ, particularly through the sacrifice of the Mass, is the spiritually powerful means of interceding through Christ’s salvific and ongoing divine intercession with the Father for us and all mankind.

The ongoing nature of the spiritual wound of grieving for a deceased family member requires an also ongoing process of dealing with grief. The prayers of the Church in Christ for the dead, especially in the month of November each year, are a great help to all of those who bear this burden of suffering the loss of family members or other loved ones.

We enjoy in Christ a new kind of life with those who have gone before us to the next life. We call this 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; and “because it is a holy and a wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins” she offers her suffrages for them’ [Lumen Gentium, n. 50]. Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 958).

The foundation for our belief in the power of prayer for the dead is founded as all other aspects of our faith upon the Resurrection of Jesus Christ in whom we too are called to find a share in the life of God.

“Belief in the resurrection of the dead has been an essential element of the Christian faith from its beginnings. ‘The confidence of Christians is the resurrection of the dead; believing this we live’ [Tertullian].

“ ‘How can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. . . . But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep’ [1 Cor. 15:12-14]” (CCC, n. 991).

St. Paul makes clear that if there is no hope of resurrection for all of humanity in Christ and because of Christ, then there likewise must be no hope that news of His Resurrection was indeed true eyewitness testimony. The point, of course, is that Christ indeed was raised and thus because God has the power to grant that life to all human nature in which He truly shared.

Because of this, then, we truly have a hope because of God’s infinite mercy that He will grant such forgiveness as is necessary to give the dead a share in His life. Scriptural teachings on the purgation that some may have to undergo before attaining eternal beatitude gives us a role through penance and prayer to join with Christ in His role of intercession as the Son of God and Savior.

Our practice of praying for the dead, whether in November each year or at Masses of Christian Burial, is based upon Scripture and Tradition.

“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’ [St. John Chrysostom]” (CCC, n. 1032).

May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. Grant them eternal life, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon them. Amen.

+    +    +

(Follow Fr. Cusick on Facebook at Reverendo Padre-Kevin Michael Cusick on Twitter @MCITL.)

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Pro-Life Group Calls for Removing Fauci After He's Caught Funding Aborted Baby Parts - https://t.co/kqxQXGgoG8

LifeNews.com - The Pro-Life News Source

.

LifeNews.com

Load More...

Biden says Pope Francis told him to continue receiving communion, amid scrutiny over pro-abortion policies

President Biden said that Pope Francis, during their meeting Friday in Vatican City, told him that he should continue to receive communion, amid heightened scrutiny of the Catholic president’s pro-abortion policies.  The president, following the approximately 90-minute-long meeting, a key…Continue Reading

Federal judge rules in favor of Gov. DeSantis’ mask mandate ban

MIAMI (LifeSiteNews) – A federal judge this week handed Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis another legal victory on his mask mandate ban for schools. On Wednesday, Judge K. Michael Moore of the Southern District of Florida denied a petition from…Continue Reading

The Eucharist should not be received unworthily, says Nigerian cardinal

Priests have a duty to remind Catholics not to receive the Eucharist in a state of serious sin and to make confession easily available, a Nigerian cardinal said at the International Eucharistic Congress on Thursday. “It is still the doctrine…Continue Reading

Donald Trump takes a swipe at Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him

Donald Trump complained about Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him in 2020. The former president made the comments in a conference call featuring religious leaders. The move could be seen to shore up his religious conservative base…Continue Reading

Y Gov. Kathy Hochul Admits Andrew Cuomo Covered Up COVID Deaths, 12,000 More Died Than Reported

When it comes to protecting people from COVID, Andrew Cuomo is already the worst governor in America. New York has the second highest death rate per capita, in part because he signed an executive order putting COVID patients in nursing…Continue Reading

Prayers For Cardinal Burke . . . U.S. Cardinal Burke says he has tested positive for COVID-19

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke said he has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. In an Aug. 10 tweet, he wrote: “Praised be Jesus Christ! I wish to inform you that I have recently…Continue Reading

Democrats Block Amendment Banning Late-Term Abortions, Stopping Abortions Up to Birth

Senate Democrats have blocked an amendment that would ban abortions on babies older than 20 weeks. During consideration of the multi-trillion spending package, pro-life Louisiana Senator John Kennedy filed an amendment to ban late-term abortions, but Democrats steadfastly support killing…Continue Reading

Transgender student wins as U.S. Supreme Court rebuffs bathroom appeal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to a transgender former public high school student who waged a six-year legal battle against a Virginia county school board that had barred him from using the bathroom corresponding…Continue Reading

New York priest accused by security guard of assault confirms charges have now been dropped

NEW YORK, June 17, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A New York priest has made his first public statement regarding the dismissal of charges against him.  Today Father George W. Rutler reached out to LifeSiteNews and other media today with the following…Continue Reading

21,000 sign petition protesting US Catholic bishops vote on Biden, abortion

More than 21,000 people have signed a letter calling for U.S. Catholic bishops to cancel a planned vote on whether President Biden should receive communion.  Biden, a Catholic, supports abortion rights and has long come under attack from some Catholics over that…Continue Reading

Bishop Gorman seeks candidates to fill two full time AP level teaching positions for the 2021-2022 school year in the subject areas of Calculus/Statistics and Physics

Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Regional Catholic School is a college preparatory school located in Tyler, Texas. It is an educational ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler led by Bishop Joseph Strickland. The sixth through twelfth grade school provides a…Continue Reading

Vatican observes ‘Earth Hour’

On Saturday, along with the Vatican, symbolic monuments of cities all across the globe turn off their lights, to demonstrate the serious global climate crisis. By Vatican News staff writer Vatican City State took part in the traditional international initiative Earth…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Catechism

Adopt A Center

Today . . .

Fr. Altman torches bishops

BALTIMORE (ChurchMilitant.com) – A fiery persecuted priest is calling U.S. bishops to account for corruption and abuse within the Catholic Church. Wisconsin priest Fr. James Altman sent a scorching message to Catholic prelates today at Church Militant’s “Bishops: Enough Is Enough” prayer rally in Baltimore. The rally is within throwing distance of the location of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ annual fall meeting.

Is It Impossible?

Cindy Paslawski      The media pundits were off and running at the mouth and pen about the US Bishops who are holding their annual fall meeting. In all their theological expertise, writers from Savannah to Los Angeles were proclaiming that Joe Biden should not be forbidden to receive the Holy Eucharist.      I do not recall a Bishop telling members of the secular media what to write, so where do these media theological “experts” get…Continue Reading

Catholic Bishop Slams Biden for Supporting Abortion: “63 Million Babies Have Been Murdered. It’s a Bloodbath”

Catholic Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone called out President Joe Biden this week for supporting the abortion “bloodbath” that has destroyed nearly 63 million unborn babies’ lives in the United States. The San Francisco archbishop has been outspoken in his criticism of political leaders like Biden who profess to be Catholic while openly advocating for the killing of unborn babies in abortions. In a new interview with America Magazine, Cordileone pointed out that Biden no longer even claims…Continue Reading

Barrett and Kavanaugh Supply Majority to Deny Religious-Liberty Claim on Vaccine Mandate

Late Friday, Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh joined Chief Justice John Roberts and the Supreme Court’s three progressives in denying a preliminary injunction to a group of medical professionals who sought to be exempted from Maine’s vaccine mandate because of their religious convictions. Justice Neil Gorsuch filed a compelling dissent in the case, John Does 1-3 v. Mills, joined by his fellow conservative justices, Clarence Thomas and Sa

Catholic Politicians and Non-Admittance to Holy Communion

Praised be Jesus Christ! Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, For the past several months, the intention of the Church in the United States of America has been very much in my prayers. At their coming November meeting, the Bishops of the United States will be considering the application of Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law: “Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others…Continue Reading

Return Of The “Law And Order” Issue

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN According to Gallup, on the issue of crime, President Joe Biden is 18 points underwater. While 57 percent of Americans disapprove of how he is handling crime, only 39 percent approve.Biden’s dismal rating was recorded before the verdict came in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial — not guilty on all five counts…Continue Reading

n New Book… Cardinal Sarah Calls Catholic Priests To Spiritual Renewal

By HANNAH BROCKHAUS ROME (CNA) — In a new book, Robert Cardinal Sarah calls priests to spiritual renewal, saying that it will not come through structural changes, but through rediscovering the priest’s mission and identity as the presence of Christ in the world.“Christ never created structures. Of course, I’m not saying they aren’t necessary. Organization…Continue Reading

City Of Philadelphia . . . To Pay $2 Million To Catholic Foster Care Agency In Settlement

By CHRISTINE ROUSSELLE PHILADELPHIA (CNA) — The city of Philadelphia will pay Catholic Social Services a $2 million settlement and reinstate their foster care contract after the Supreme Court unanimously found in June that the city had discriminated against the group due to their religious beliefs.Most of the money will be used to pay Catholic…Continue Reading

This Season . . . Thank Private Property

By JOHN STOSSEL Happy Thanksgiving!But beware the “tragedy of the commons.” It almost killed off the pilgrims.Now, via Washington, D.C., it’s probably coming for us.Tragedy of the commons is a concept from an essay by ecologist Garrett Hardin. He wrote how cattle ranchers sharing a common parcel of land soon destroy that land. That’s because…Continue Reading

Biden’s War On Religious Liberty Spikes

By BILL DONOHUE (Editor’s Note: Catholic League President Bill Donohue commented November 18 at catholicleague.org on the latest attacks on religious liberty.) + + Never has religious liberty been more seriously threatened than it is today. That the man responsible for this all-out assault professes to be a Catholic is all the more offensive. It…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Q. Attending parochial school in the 1950s, we read about Fr. Miguel Pro, who was martyred during the Mexican Revolution. We learned that the revolution was led by the Communists. However, now it seems that it was led by the Masons. Which one was it? Or was it both? — R.K., via e-mail.A. A priest-friend of ours who is from…Continue Reading

Chaos In Firm Control Of U.S. Church

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK I am currently working my way through a sociological and psychological work entitled The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self. In this academic pursuit of over 400 pages, a Christian professor by the name of Carl R. Trueman attempts to explain, among other things, why so many people are no longer Christian. Or, rather,…Continue Reading

Four Common Tactics Of The Devil

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: This essay on the Devil’s tactics first appeared on Msgr. Pope’s blog and it is reprinted here with permission.) + + On recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in demonic possession. Movies and books, along with human fears and fascinations, are largely the cause. Although actual demonic possession is somewhat rare,…Continue Reading

A Spiritual Exile

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Second Sunday Of Advent (YR C) Readings: Baruch 5:1-9Phil. 1:4-6, 8-11Luke 3:1-6 In the readings today, we hear the same basic message from three different sources. The words of the Prophet Isaiah are applied to St. John the Baptist regarding his purpose and his message: “Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill made…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Kudos to Catholic League President Bill Donohue on his new book The Truth About Clergy Sexual Abuse (available at Ignatius.com). In a statement, Donohue says that his book demonstrates that “the sexual abuse scandal effectively ended decades ago.” This is confirmed, he said, “by the 2020 Annual Report on clergy sexual abuse published by the National Review Board…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Damien Of Molokai

By DEB PIROCH Born the seventh child to Belgian farming parents, young Joseph de Veuster — later St. Damien — was first called to the priesthood after a mission given by the Redemptorists in 1858, when he was 18. Having been told to stop school because he was needed on the home farm, Joseph, like his two older sisters and…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Margaret Of Castello

By DEB PIROCH “Again the kingdom of heaven is like to a merchant seeking good pearls. Who when he had found one pearl of great price, went his way, and sold all that he had, and bought it” (Matt. 13:44-45).The other famous biblical reference to pearls is in The Gospel According to St. Matthew. Christ says: “Give not that which…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)