Praying For The Dead

I had a discussion last year with a friend who asked me why I go to the cemetery every November 1. My short answer is we remember our dead love ones and pray for them. I got a quick reply that praying for the dead is condemned in the Bible referring to the book of Deuteronomy which says:

There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord

Deuteronomy 18:10-12

I was home already when I check the above verse and doubted that the above text may be referring to witchcraft. Certainly because Jesus himself talked to the dead! Every holy week I can hear the story about Jesus talking to Moses and Elijah. I searched the bible verse and it says:

And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

– Matthew 17:3-4

Aren’t Moses and Elijah dead already? Maybe they are still alive? They are and all we know is that God is the God of the Living and not of the dead (Luke 20:38). Any believer who died in Christ is still alive. Saint Paul said the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23). We are called to be saints (Romans 1:7) being members of the body of Christ. We are sanctified (1 Corinthians 1:1-2)

Christians pray for one another.

Whenever our friends are sick and in need of our prayers, we pray for them. We pray for the victims of the calamities, we pray for our government officials. We pray for our priests, our pastors, our teachers. It’s amazing how we intercede to one another. We do so because Jesus taught us. The apostle James told us so.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

James 5:16

Should we stop praying for our friends when they die? Should we stop asking for our friends to pray for us when they die? Do our departed love ones and friends separated from the mystical body of Christ when they die? Not even death can separate us from the love of God in Christ.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, 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 8:38-39

In fact, the saints who are now in heaven offer the prayers of the saints before the Lamb of God (Revelation 5:8). The saints in heaven and the saints on earth are still connected to one another. We are still in communion. That is the term ‘communion of saints’ we recites in the Apostles Creed.

The communion of saints is the spiritual solidarity which binds together the faithful on earth (Church Militants), the souls in purgatory (Church Suffering), and the saints in heaven (Church Triumphant) in the organic unity of the same mystical body under Christ its head, and in a constant interchange of supernatural offices. The participants in that solidarity are called saints by reason of their destination and of their partaking of the fruits of the Redemption.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (961-962) states: The term “communion of saints” refers also to the communion of “holy persons” (sancti) in Christ who “died for all,” so that what each one does or suffers in and for Christ bears fruit for all. “We believe in the communion of all the faithful of Christ, those who are pilgrims on earth, the dead who are being purified, and the blessed in heaven, all together forming one Church; and we believe that in this communion, the merciful love of God and his saints is always [attentive] to our prayers”.

Mary help of Christians, Pray for Us.

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