Sunday, 3 September 2017

Of your charity...

Of your charity pray for the repose of the soul of Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor.

It is understandable that when someone we love or revere dies, we want to imagine that he or she has gone straight to Heaven.

However, the Catholic Church has always cautioned against this approach; instead, we assume as a default position that people need our prayers at this time.

I am just finishing reading the autobiography of St Teresa of Avila, and she recounts some extraordinary visions that bear witness to the power of praying for the dead.

The traditional liturgy, of course, captures the full range of emotions and resonances of this time: ranging from the Dies irae to the In paradisum, and with the wonderful prayer Tuis enim fidelibusDomine, vita mutatur, non tollitur.

The premature emotional beatification of people immediately after their death is not only theologically suspect, but risks denying them the prayers they may need at this stage of their journey towards heaven.

So pray for Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, that he may speed through purgatory, and enjoy the fulness of redemption in the company of Our Lord, Our Lady and all the angels and saints, in Heaven.

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