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Praying for dead implies immortality

A lady tells a friend: “When I die, I want my remains cremated and my ashes scattered at the mall.”

Surprised and puzzled, the friend asks: “Isn’t that weird? Why did you say that?”

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The lady replies: “So my children will always visit me.” (They’re always going to the mall but seldom visit their mother).

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That story somehow illustrates that we often forget our loved ones, more so our dead relatives. That’s why the feast All Souls is a beautiful custom, reminding us to remember and visit our departed loved ones.

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It’s been noted that we’re veering away from the original idea of celebrating All Souls’ and Saints’ Day.

Our celebration’s focus is more on the worldly especially the commercial aspect rather than the spiritual and other-worldly.

Think of the Halloween parties and bargain sales, “Trick or Treat,” of spirits and ghosts pervading our celebrations.

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For instance, in our Halloween celebrations, we fail to reflect on the last things of life: our own death, our souls’ immortality, life after death, our goal of becoming a saint.

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Existence of Purgatory. The Catholic belief of praying for the dead on All Souls’ Day automatically includes belief in the existence of purgatory. It would be useless to pray and make sacrifices for the dead because saints in heaven need no help, and those in hell are beyond deliverance.

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The belief in purgatory, which is specifically a Catholic teaching and included in the Catholic Creed, says that those who die in friendship and grace with God but who are not perfectly purified are detained and purified there.

Other Christian denominations, like the Protestants, believe only in heaven and hell but not a middle state called purgatory.

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This particular teaching has solid biblical basis. In 2 Maccabees 12, we read of Judas’ act of collecting money to provide for a sin offering for his fallen men.

“He made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sins” (2 Macc 12, 45).

In his letter, St. John writes, “Every kind of wrongdoing is sin, but not all sin is deadly (1 Jn 5,17).

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Reason and common sense demand belief in the existence of purgatory. For instance, stealing R50 from a rich man is not as serious as stealing P5 million from him. Likewise, stealing P10 from an ordinary teacher is not as grave as stealing P50,000 from her.

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Halloween Laff. A group of friends wanted to know if there was basketball in heaven. They agreed that whoever died first should come back to inform them.

Robert died first. One night, Rodel heard something like the voice of Robert. Rodel blurted out: Are you the one, Robert?

Robert: Yes. Rodel: Okay, tell me: Is there basketball in heaven?

Robert: Yes, but I have good and bad news for you. The good news is there is basketball in heaven. The bad news: you will join me in the game tomorrow!

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Heavenly Treasures. Our Lord said, “Store up treasures in heaven where neither rust nor moth can consume.” How about doing that now?

Remember, you won’t bring your material wealth to the next life.

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Share your blessings with needy seminarians under “Adopt-A-Seminarian” scholarship program and sick indigents we are supporting.

For inquiries, e-mail me at: belsvd@gmail.com. (FR, BEL R. San Luis, SVD)