Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

All Saints Day

Several days ago, Flos Carmeli had a post up about praying Hitler out of purgatory. On All Saints Day (or perhaps more appropriately, tomorrow on All Souls Day) this seems like an apt subject to contemplate. How willing are we to pray for the souls of those who have done evil -- particularly when it affects us personally?

Several years ago, someone who had grievously wronged a member of my family decades ago died. I have no idea in what state of mind this person died or how much thought or sorrow was directed toward an ancient sin. The thought of asking God for mercy for this soul is odious to me, especially as the consequences of the action are still resonating even now.

It is truly horrible, however, that I, who know God's love and am well-formed in the faith, should wish that anyone would spend eternity in hell, eternally separated from God. This is serious matter, not to be trifled with. My own sins are, in the purely human sense, far less consequential, yet perhaps my sin is greater in the eyes of God because my knowledge is greater. Should I wish for God's wrath on myself for wronging him so much that reparation could only be made by the death of His Son?

Pray for me that tonight at Mass I might be able to commend this soul, and my own, to God's unfathomable mercy.


Julie D. said...

This is a very hard and heavy burden ... I definitely will be praying for you.

Anonymous said...

This is a hard thing...but I have found that the more you pray for the person, the easier it will get. I always figure the dear Lord told us to pray for our enemies because He knew that it's hard to hate someone that we keep praying for.
I will be praying for you!
God bless!

Bernard Brandt said...

I would like to share with you something that my pastor, Fr. Alexei Smith, said in the homily last week, that helped me get over a hatred that I had for a certain individual which had been so bad that I was separated from the Eucharist for a year.

In the course of the homily, which was mainly concerning the Byzantine structure of the Service of Baptism, Fr. Alexei quoted from one of St. Maximos the Confessor's Four Hundred Sentences on Love (which can be found in the Philokalia): to the effect that if we hate our neighbor, our Lord has said that we only damage ourselves. If, however, we hate the calumny that our neighbor has done, and the devil which has inspired that calumny in our neighbor, then we are freed from sin, and can pray for our neighbor, who has been imprisoned by that calumny and that devil.

If we can direct our hate to its proper source, that is, the sin itself and the devil who inspired it, then we can be freed from the hatred of our neighbor. At least, it worked for me.

Anonymous said...

While growing up, my mother used to teach us to offer everything up to the "Poor Souls in Purgatory". It's a good habit that I've kept.
So, when I have to pray for someone I dislike intensely, I offer that up too. I figure it must be worth something extra since I view it as a kind of penance.

Julie D. said...

I remembered your intention last night during the consecration. Hope all went just a little better.

mrsdarwin said...

Thank you, Julie. Your prayers probably worked because during the Consecration I was hauling out Babs for razzing at the kids behind us and cracking them up and making an old lady glare at us. I wasn't focused on old grievances at all -- actually, in regards to Babs, what was going through my head was, "Why does the heathen rage?"

THough technically she's not a heathen, since she's baptized. You wouldn't know it from her behavior in church!

mrsdarwin said...


My mother too always admonished us to offer it up, but since she said so often as a dismissal of fuss, it went in one ear and out the other. Still, just because good advice is offered in an annoying fashion or a poor context doesn't mean that the underlying principle isn't sound.