Devotion for the Dying

By Ven. Mother Mary Potter


Nine "Secrets" Of Being Heard When We Pray
For The Souls of the Dying

1. Reparation saves souls: This is the holy "boomerang" affect mentioned before. That is, when we make acts of reparation to God, to the Holy Name of God, to the Name of Jesus, to Our Lord in the Eucharist, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary-----this brings down graces for the salvation of souls, even if we do not even mention specific souls. Often we obtain wonderful results, not by directly begging for our intentions, but by prayer by which we put God's interests first.

2. Confidence: God measures out His answers to our prayers based on the degree of our confidence in Him when we pray. Our Lady stated this when she gave her Miraculous Medal and Green Scapular revelations, and Our Lord stated it very strongly with His Divine Mercy revelations. Speaking of asking for favors for oneself, He said the following words to Sister Faustina: "[Let] the greatest sinners place their trust in My mercy. They have the right before others to confidence in the abyss of My mercy . . . Graces are drawn from [the fount of] My mercy with one vessel only, and that is trust. The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive . . . I make Myself dependent upon your trust; if your trust will be great, then My generosity will know no limits . . . Sins of distrust wound Me most painfully." [But if a sinner we know of will not trust in God, let us trust in God for him, begging Our Lord to accept our trust in his stead.]

  3. Perseverance: Someone once asked Theodore Ratisbonne about the conversion of his brother Alphonse, an anti-Christian Jew. Theodore had been praying for his brother for years, with apparently no results. He replied, "I have been praying for him for 27 years, and that is why I am just now beginning to hope." Finally, at the age of 28, Alphonse was miraculously converted through the Miraculous Medal, and became a priest.

  The great missionary bishop St. Anthony Mary Claret said this about his prayers to Our Lady: If she does not hear me at first, then I pull on her mantle so that she does hear me. Thus he did not give up when he seemed to be getting no answer, but persevered until he did receive an answer.

  In his famous book entitled Spiritual Conferences, Father Faber has a chapter entitled "Confidence, The Only Worship." When we have confidence in God, we honor Him profoundly, and this leads to our receiving graces in return. If we do not have confidence in Him, we refuse Him this glory, or even offend Him.

  4. Praise and Thanksgiving: This is another example of how we may obtain our petitions best by other means  than our prayers of petition. Our Lord told St. Gertrude that if a person thanks or praises Him for the graces He has given to someone else, He turns around and gives some of the same grace to that soul praising Him!

     Let us praise and thank Our Lord, then, for the graces of conversion He has given to others. For instance, we can praise Him for the conversion of the public sinner, Pranzini, which St. Therese the Little Flower obtained by her prayers and sacrifices; for the conversion of St. Augustine, which St. Monica obtained; and for the conversion of St. Dismas the Good Thief, which perhaps Our Lady herself obtained-----and for any other conversions of sinners we know of.

Let us also thank the Blessed Mother for these conversions, for it is a traditional Catholic belief that all graces come through Mary's hands. We may pray in words like these:

Little Acts of Praise and Thanksgiving

Blessed be God for the conversion of [Name]!
Blessed be Mary Immaculate, Mediatrix of all graces,
for the conversion of [Name]!
     We can also thank Our Lord and Our Lady for the salvation of those we are sure have gone to Heaven-----the canonized Saints, and infants who have died after Baptism. God loves a grateful heart. Let us pray these little prayers with great confidence that God will grant a like grace for the soul we are praying for!

     5. The Poor Souls: It is said that St. Teresa of Avila obtained through the Poor Souls in Purgatory favors she had asked in vain from the Saints in Heaven.

Here is another indirect way of obtaining the things we are praying for. If we pray for the Poor Souls, they will help us, and this may well bring a much greater response than praying directly for our own intentions. Even while they are still in Purgatory, they will help us in our intentions in return, and when they reach Heaven we are guaranteed that they will help us, for "Ingratitude is unknown in Heaven." Thus we will be wise to pray for the repose of the souls of the deceased parents and godparents of the sinner that we are praying for, as well as for the repose of the souls of our own ancestors and godparents. The former have a special interest in their child or godchild, and the latter have a special interest in us and our intentions. When praying for a Soul in Purgatory, we may remind it about the sinner on earth for whom we are praying.

  6. Sacrifices: As mentioned earlier, this is the way to give our prayers great efficacy.

  7. Repetition: Let us not hesitate to repeat our prayers over and over. God will not tire of hearing them. The Angel of Fatima, for example, prayed the Reparation prayer, "Most Holy Trinity . . ." three times, after which he prostrated himself on the ground and repeated it three more times. Following his example, the children of Fatima used to repeat this prayer over and over, for hours on end, even bowed down with their foreheads touching the ground.

 8. Perseverance: This is something that God loves, probably because it shows confidence in Him. Recall the Gospel story of the householder who finally answered his door and helped his neighbor only because his neighbor kept knocking on the door and refused to give up! [Luke 11: 5-8]

  This story was given to us by Our Lord as an example to follow.

     Recall likewise that when Our Lady seemed to receive a negative answer to her request at the Wedding Feast of Cana [John 2: 1-11], she just proceeded as though she were going to receive her request-----and she did!

Recall also the Gospel account wherein Our Lord seems to insult the Gentile woman who was begging Him to cure her daughter. [Matt. 15: 22-28] She did not give up, and Our Lord answered her request-----adding praise for her boldness in asking.

    9. Being in the state of grace: Most of all, when we are asking for someone's salvation, we should be in the state of grace. If we are in the state of mortal sin, at enmity with God, in the state of impenitence, refusing to fulfill our obligations to Him, how can we expect Him to give the gifts we are requesting for others?

     In praying for the salvation of a sinner, we are praying for God to call back one of His "prodigal sons." In one sense we must be like the older brother in that parable: the father said to his older son, "You are always with me, and all that I have is yours."

    When we are in the state of grace, this is true of us also: Sanctifying Grace is Divine Life, the life of God within us, flowing in our veins, so to speak. And the Father listens to what such a son asks for.

 Let us therefore continually purify our souls by a good Confession every week; then we will know that God's life is in us and we can confidently ask for the conversion of others as a son asking the Father to save his wayward brother.



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