IT’S NOT good to console ourselves over our departed loved ones with declarations “He/she is now happy in Heaven.” That consoles us, consoles the bereaved, but there are good chances the departed, upon hearing such declarations, would beg us with screams of “No, no!”
Because those in Heaven are not to be prayed for (prayed to, yes), to assume that a departed is in Heaven brings us contentment that prayers are no longer necessary for them.
This is to disregard what the Blessed Mother said in Medjugorje that only a few people go directly to Heaven and that more land first in Purgatory.
Thus, when my father died last Feb. 10, I and my family have never ceased praying for him daily. I have never comforted even my mother with declarations that she should not worry because Dad is now happy in Heaven. Instead, I remind her that Dad is okay (he received the last sacraments twice before he crossed the veil) but that he could still be in Purgatory so we should not cease praying for him.
But what if Dad is already in Heaven? No waste. The Church teaches that God would apply our prayers as He would see fit.
And because All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days are nearing, I have more quotes from the Blessed Mother about the need for praying for persons in Purgatory:
To Marie-Claire Mukangango, Kibeho, Rwanda, Africa, 1982: “Praying for your departed loved ones is of great comfort to them and of great help for the souls in purgatory, but people still must work to earn a place in heaven.”
To the Medjugorje visionaries in 1981: “There are many souls in Purgatory. Pray for their intentions … There is a large number of souls who have been in Purgatory for a long time because no one prays for them. These persons wait for your prayers and your sacrifices.”
And for us to lessen if not avoid Purgatory, the Blessed Mother told the visionaries of Kibeho, Africa in 1981: “The one who turns to God in this world and lives according to God’s Will, can, through Divine Mercy, shorten and even avoid his time in Purgatory.”
There is no shortage of information about Purgatory. Medjugorje visionary Vicka was privileged to see Purgatory in the company of the Blessed Mother and this she had to say: Purgatory is a very big space and in appearance is much like a misty gray fog that looks like ashes. There people are weeping, moaning, trembling in what seems like terrible suffering.
The Blessed Mother told Vicka, “These people need your prayers, especially the ones who have no one to pray for them.” Vicka adds that this is why we have to pray so much for these poor souls; they desperately need our prayers to go from Purgatory to Heaven.”
Medjugorje visionary Mirjana described Purgatory as having several levels. She said the more you pray on earth, the higher your level in Purgatory will be. The lowest level is closest to Hell where the suffering is the most intense. The highest level is closest to Heaven and in this level, the sufferings are the least.
Marijana quoted the Blessed Mother as saying that most souls are delivered from Purgatory not only on All Souls’ Day but also on Christmas Day.
On July 21, 1982, the Blessed Mother told the Medjugorje visionaries: “There are many souls in Purgatory. There are also persons who have been consecrated to God – some priests, some Religious. Pray for their intentions, at least the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be seven times each, and the Creed. I recommend it to you. There is a large number of souls who have been in Purgatory for a long time because no one prays for them.”
As regards ghosts, the Blessed Mother had this to say also in Medjugorje: “In Purgatory there are different levels; the lowest is close to Hell and the highest gradually draws near to Heaven. It is not on All Souls Day, but at Christmas, that the greatest number of souls leave Purgatory. There are in Purgatory, souls who pray ardently to God, but for whom no relative or friend prays on earth. God makes them benefit from the prayers of other people. It happens that God permits them to manifest themselves in different ways, close to their relatives on earth, in order to remind men of the existence of Purgatory and to solicit their prayers to come close to God who is just, but good. The majority of people go to Purgatory. Many go to Hell. A small number go directly to Heaven.”