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"In You Did It to Me, Fr. Michael Gaitley [MIC] has a genius for bringing together the spiritual and corporal works of mercy under the umbrella of 'The Five Scriptural Works... Read more

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Part 2: Pray for the Living and the Dead

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The following is the second in a seven-part series on the spiritual works of mercy.

By Chris Sparks

Want to do a work of mercy right here, right now? It's easy.

Repeat after me: "Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world."

There! Work of mercy accomplished!

As Jesus told St. Faustina:

I am giving you three ways of exercising mercy toward your neighbor: the first — by deed, the second — by word, the third — by prayer. In these three degrees is contained the fullness of mercy, and it is an unquestionable proof of love for Me. By this means a soul glorifies and pays reverence to My mercy.

Many souls ... are often worried because they do not have the material means with which to carry out an act of mercy. Yet spiritual mercy, which requires neither permissions nor storehouses, is much more meritorious and is within the grasp of every soul.

If a soul does not exercise mercy somehow or other, it will not obtain My mercy on the day of judgment. Oh, if only souls knew how to gather eternal treasure for themselves, they would not be judged, for they would forestall My judgment with their mercy" (1317).

Though many of the corporal works of mercy can take gobs of time, talent, or treasure, praying for the living and the dead is easy, accessible to everyone, and can cost a mere moment of your time. Also, it helps you as much or more as it helps those for whom you pray — anything that draws you closer to God, that encourages you to open yourself to the power and presence of the Trinity, leads you closer to the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. You were made for communion with God, made for divine filiation. You were made to become a son or daughter of God, and prayer is one of the times when that relationship is made most obvious, most clear.

So do yourself a favor: Pray for the living and the dead! Pray especially for those least likely to be prayed for:

Pray for your enemies.
Pray for those most in need of God's mercy.
Pray for the sick and dying.
Pray for celebrities.

Pray! Pray for the forgotten, those remembered only by heaven above. Pray for those who are loved and lost, and those who are loved and found. Pray for the good, the bad, the lukewarm. Pray for the Holy Spirit to come down upon all the nations, and for all the nations to go up to God. Pray for the change of times and seasons, for the healing of the harm we have done to the earth and to one another. Pray for the impossible to become possible, the irreparable to be made whole, all wrongs to be made right, all right to be made perfect.

Pray! Pray like you mean it, like God meant it when he said, "Amen, I say to you, if you have faith and do not waver, not only will you do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,' it will be done. Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive" (Mt 21:21-22). Pray as though you're starving for grace, as though you're choking for lack of the wind of the Spirit, as though the life of God is your only hope — for it's true, though we do not often feel it.

Make over your life into one continuous prayer by walking the path of the saints, by trusting in God, by letting yourself be transformed, transfigured, by making the Morning Offering and meaning it; by consecrating yourself to Jesus through Mary. It's not hard — God became man in order to open up a path to heaven. Saint Therese of Lisieux laid out a little way for little souls, one taken up and combined with the insights of other saints to become a potent means of Consoling the Heart of Jesus by Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC.

Pray for the living and the dead! It is so very easy, and Jesus has made such great promises to those who pray. This is the best investment you'll ever make, with infinite returns. Start now and save souls (including your own)!

The spiritual works of mercy

Teach the ignorant
Pray for the living and the dead
Admonish sinners
Counsel those in doubt
Console the sorrowful
Bear wrongs patiently
Forgive offenses

We invite you to follow along with the series.

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praying 4 living & dead - Dec 18, 2015

I recently learned from the Catechism that unborn babies need our prayers...I mean I knew they need our prayers in the hopes that the moms will choose life and their innocent little lives will be mercifully spared and their right to life will be respected...but I also found out that even when unborn babies are sadly aborted they still need our prayers, that salvation is hoped for but not assured (since they're unbaptized)...

CCC 1261 "As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,"64 allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism."

It should be understood that there is indeed hope, and they should be entrusted to God's mercy definitely. But, I don't think the attitude should develop that aborting them was doing them a favor... that at least this way they're assured of salvation, while they won't have to be abused in this life. That is not a pro-life attitude. It is better to let them live, because they're innocent and deserve to live. To be truly baptized and brought up in the Church with Holy Communion for Catholic children and to be taught to love God, or at least given the chance to grow up to get to know God of their own choice... this is the best way to let a kid prepare for Eternal Life. Abortion deprives the baby not only of life but also of baptism which infuses divine life into their soul...

"1250 Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called. The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism. The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth."

So for Catholic families who already have a big family and find themselves pregnant again, please know this is a blessing, that the baby deserves to live, that the baby is the greatest gift of marriage, the best gift to give their siblings...and that to deprive them of life and baptism is a serious thing. I even have thought that if the problem is worrying that they can't take care of another baby, at least let the baby grow and be born, and consider letting the baby be adopted by another family who can take care of them, so that they can live and grow up. It's kinda sad to do this, but it's more sad to kill the baby just out of convenience reasons, and other reasons also are not good enough reasons to kill an innocent baby. Keep the baby, or give the baby the gift of life and let another good family take care of them, but don't kill them, they are a blessing from God, and it would be difficult to get over the regret or fully repent from something that shouldn't be done in the first place. To have to worry whether the baby's salvation is in jeopardy too would be difficult. The babies need prayers even if they've already died, just like other souls need prayers when they've died.

One last thing, contraception use by families who already have a big family is not the answer, because it's still against Church teaching, and plus it's unhealthy and disrespectful between the couple. The best way to have a healthy respectful marriage/family is simply to learn natural family planning, from the very beginning of marriage, in order to space out births or avoid births sometimes, to balance love and responsibility. THis is different than artificial birth control. It's called "birth regulation" and is described beautifully in Humanae Vitae. It's not wrong because it doesn't go against God's natural design for the theology of the body, it respects God's blessings and God's way of bringing life and love into the family.

Peace be with you, dear families! There's also more to do in families... there's the Works of Mercy that the family can do together in their domestic church of family life. That is a very special mission of family life, to love God together. The reason God blessed them to be together in the first place, to help eachother to Heaven, like St. Therese's family.

God bless families!

Kathleen Riney - Jan 1, 2016

What happened to the "3 Forms of Baptism", in RC THEOLOGY?
Baptism of WATER-
Baptism of DESIRE-
Baptism of BLOOD-

Surely these Babies Qualify under the Last Heading.
Anyone, Claiming to be RC,
Has the Inate "Desire of Baptism" for these Little Ones.