Praying our friends to heaven is a good way to spend our November, and it might result in a throng of people who will thank us.
By Sister Christina M. Neumann
7 November 2021
While preparing for the Mass readings from Thursday of last week, I realized that the Letter from Saint Paul was the very passage that I read at my grandma’s funeral over twenty years ago:
Brothers and sisters: None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself. For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For this is why Christ died and came to life, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living…Romans 14
This reading seems especially fitting for this month of November, when we make a special point of praying for those who have died to help them on their way to heaven.
I recently read a quote from someone which said that when we (hopefully) get to heaven, we’ll be met by a throng of people who will thank us. They are those who we’d prayed for while they were in purgatory.
It sounds to me like a good way to get more “friends in high places” is to pray for those who have died.
This evening, when I teach Religious Ed, I am going to ask our first graders if they know anyone who has died. We’ll then pray the Our Father (which they’re supposed to be learning) for these people.
Recently, I was walking down the sidewalk, with bountiful fall leaves lying all around me (and more falling as I walked). It struck me that it is with due reason that the Church chooses the month of November to pray for those in purgatory. I realize that this custom may have flown out of the commemoration of All Saints and All Souls with which we begin the month. However, there is a connection in nature which makes it appropriate as well.
Although the falling leaves are beautiful, they are a sign of what lies ahead. The trees are becoming bare. Soon, the ground will be covered with snow. Days are becoming shorter. In a way, it seems the world is dying. Soon, it will be resting in the sleep of winter. What an appropriate time to think about (and pray for) those who have gone before us and to give thought to the end of our own lives!
As is illustrated above, some of the readings during these last weeks of the liturgical year also point to this.
I hope that someday, whenever the end of my own life may come, I will meet my grandma, and other loved ones again. I might even get a thank you from them for the prayers I’ve said on their behalf.
Sr. Christina serves at St. Anne’s Living Center, a home for the elderly and disabled in Grand Forks, North Dakota. She also manages the web page for the facility, writes their weekly blog, and edits their resident newsletter. Sr. Christina also authors “Our Franciscan Fiat” , the blog for her religious community of Dillingen Franciscan Sisters in North Dakota. Before entering religious life, she received a bachelor of arts in written communication, with some coursework also in graphic arts and theology.