For this reason he is mediator of a new covenant: since a death has taken place for deliverance from transgressions under the first covenant, those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance. Now where there is a will, the death of the testator must be established. For a will takes effect only at death; it has no force while the testator is alive. Thus not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. When every commandment had been proclaimed by Moses to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves (and goats), together with water and crimson wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is ‘the blood of the covenant which God has enjoined upon you.'” In the same way, he sprinkled also the tabernacle and all the vessels of worship with blood. According to the law almost everything is purified by blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Therefore, it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified by these rites, but the heavenly things themselves by better sacrifices than these.
I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd.
Prayer of the Faithful, vol. I
Lord, have mercy on us and save us.
cornerstone and foundation of our lives,
by your hand we are carved,
in your keeping we are secure,
and by your divine power we are upheld.
When the winds of evil blow, and the storm rages on
the great abyss,
when the rains fall upon the mountains and over the
may the torrents of our sins not sweep us away to
die in our faults.
Remember that your have become part of us, and we of you.
Grant us to praise your unspeakable power,
now and for ever.
Saint of the Day:
Saint Theodore Krateros, Eunuch and member of the imperial Byzantine court. May have been the general of the Bucellarian division of the imperial army. Considered the leader of the 42 Martyrs of Amorium who were captured by invading Muslims, imprisoned for seven years, and then murdered when they refused to convert to Islam. Martyr. Beheaded on 6 March 845 in Samarra (in modern Iraq) on the banks of the Euphrates river by Ethiopian slaves body thrown into the river, but later recovered by local Christians and given proper burial.
What is the experience of Purgatory and what is our connection with the faiithful departed? Let us start with the conceptual connection between knowledge, love, and attachment. First knowledge, the fundamental ingredient in any lasting relationship, for we can only love what we know. For example, if someone said they wanted you to love their best friend like they do and they set off on a long explanation of why their friend is such a lovable, wonderful person. At the end of their exposition you might feel interested in getting to know their friend but you could not say you love them, because your knowledge is second-hand, it has no existential quality in that you have never encountered them firsthand yourself. Knowledge is the bedrock of love and relationship, to paraphrase the French philosopher Pascal in his famous writing the Pensees (My Thoughts) – if you wish to have faith in God, then fall on our knees in prayer, take holy water, go to Mass, do the things that others have risked to know and love the Eternal God.
Secondly, knowledge leads to love and love to attachment. It is not surprising that the first people we usually love in life and feel an attachment to are our parents. The self-giving and vulnerability of human love only grows within the context of real, honest communication, of mutual self-disclosure. These attachments of love, as Catholics we believe, do not end at the grave. The Church, the People of God, exists on earth, in time and in Heaven – the Church of Purgatory and the Communion of Saints. Love is an active reality, it is the core of our being, as St. Augustine remarked, “my weight, is my love”, love does not end.
So often when we pray for the eternal peace or eternal rest of the faithful departed, we can fall into a false impression that the redeemed live in some sort of Nirvana of blissful meditation, this is nowhere within our tradition. Until the Kingdom of God comes in its fullness we all, the living and the departed have a ministry or love and prayer. This leads us to see Purgatory as a refining fire, refining our being to love more purely. On this side of the grave love is imperfect, we all fall short of the perfect symbol of love which is Our Lord’s Holy Cross. On earth it is impossible for human beings not to have some degree of self-interest and selfishness in loving. In Purgatory the fire of Divine Love is an experience which allows us to shed the impulses toward self-centeredness as we exist more closely to the Light of Truth.
Those who have experienced Purgatory take their love for us to the throne of God. As the great Jesuit intellectual and Saint Robert Bellarmine reminds us, the Church that has suffered through Purgatory has been purified and therefore when we pray for our beloved dead, we should also ask them to pray for us.
Purgatory and prayer for the dead is ultimately not a question of darkness, pain and suffering, rather it is an affirmation of the purifying power of the Divine Light and Divine Love and the consolation that we are never separated from our loved ones, in fact the love is purified in the glory of God.
– Rev. David A. Fisher,