Part 2: Pray for the Living and the Dead
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.