You’re dead. Not the I-had-a-really-hard-day kind of dead; not the if-they-catch-me-doing-this kind, either; no, classic, old-fashioned, the-life-is-gone-out-of-you dead. Not alive anymore. Now what?
Well, first of all, there’s nothing you can do about it. Really – you’re dead, so the time for doing, or deciding, is over. You are passive, but aware.
You are annoyed to find out that you are not in heaven, which you expected because you’ve seen too many movies. You ask, whatever happened to For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16)?
Yes, that salvation is achieved once and for all in Christ Jesus by His perfect sacrifice on the cross. But it is not achieved in you – not totally anyway, not yet. All those little things are stuck to you, weighing you down. At least they seemed little to you at the time you grabbed them. Oh, God wouldn’t send me to hell for this.
You were right about one thing – God wouldn’t send you to hell; He would have you with Him in glory! But that seemed so eventual then, back when you got to choose how you spent your time, what you had around you. You wanted to hold on to those other things, things that seemed important, delightful, or just fun. Now they are holding on to you, holding you back from heaven. Now you can’t let go! You can’t do anything! You’re dead.
By the mercy of Christ you’re in Purgatory, which may not sound like good news, but it is, because you’re not in hell. That would have required a conscious rejection of Christ’s offer of salvation, renunciation of your Baptism into His death and resurrection, or a conscious choosing of grave sin without repenting. There’s only one place to go from Purgatory, and that’s heaven. But you can’t get yourself there. You need help! So you ask yourself, who will help me?
Whom did you ask to help you, back when you could do things? Did you teach your children to pray for you? Did you tell them to have the Holy Mass offered for you, not only a funeral Mass, but others as well, on the month’s mind, on the anniversary? Do they know how to pray the rosary? Who will offer up their pains and sufferings for you, even do penance for you? Who will help detach those “little” sins from you so that you can move toward the glory? Who will help you with that spiritual maintenance and upkeep that you never quite got around to, when you were still able to do for yourself?
Next month is the month of All Souls, set aside every year to remember the ones who have gone before us, everyone whose goodness we knew, everyone who loved us and whom we loved. We remember some that we just know are going to need some help. And we help them!
Compile your list, and use the All Souls envelopes to place their names on our Holy Altar to be prayed for at Mass every day in November. Put your sacrifice for them right inside. Say a prayer daily for the Souls in Purgatory. Offer it up. Light a candle. Come to Mass on November 2 – that’s right, the second day in a row – and bring the intentions of your beloved dead with you. While you can still decide and do, bring your children, teach them, and show them. They’ll learn how much you count on their prayers. Because without them, you’re dead.