THE SPIRITUAL WORKS OF MERCY
“Pray for the Living and the Dead”
“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”(Matthew 21:22).
The list of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, as they should never be separated from each other, ends with the universal prayer that is defined intercessory prayer and is supported by our love for one another.
It’s a prayer that is certainly difficult, but powerful. It expresses the solidarity towards others by virtue of a relationship, a deep bond with God, that was broken by sin, but man can recover it through the mediation of the Son of God, who became sinful for mankind.
And man, like Jesus, puts himself and his relationship with his siblings before God, through prayer. In fact, the word “intercede” means, “to come between” two borders, to create a bridge between the parties: God and the other; the intercessor becomes himself a bridge to support the weight of a transaction and reach the victory. Moses showed the signs of this difficult prayer to the point that Aaron and Hur held up his hands (cf. Ex 17:8 to13).
The intercessor is the one who totally exposes himself, he takes upon himself the responsibility of others, the sinners, before God, from whom he begs for forgiveness and mercy, for all. It’s Jesus’ cry on the cross in the final act of His earthly intercession: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
The intercessory prayer is therefore a request to the Heavenly Father for the benefit of others, that we recall. The Father already knows what we need, but it is through prayer that we ask Him to transfer what we received from His mercy also to those who do not yet know Him, as the memory of this “benefit” is so great that we want others to enjoy it. The intercessory prayer is not only an invocation, but it is also a concrete commitment on the part of the one who says it; Everything is in our power so that the other can get the divine help, index of salvation and manifestation of the God’s Will who wants us to be united with one another.
This prayer seems to mark some conditions: the first is the intercessor’s insolation to meet the Lord, to enter into an intimacy with Him, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray” (Mt 26,36); this is a delicate moment during which he “fights” against God, a God who is our friend and Father. The second is the new communion with his brothers for whom and for whose salvation the intercessor perseveres towards this merciful Father and Friend.
The great teaching of Jesus, “pray for one another” (James 5:16) arises from love for one another and leads to love; it refines it , purifies and makes it more and more like the unconditional love of God because when we pray for each other, there is no longer separation, we do not see in the other the enemy, but a brother in need of help, of conversion and company. In the Christian communities the Holy Spirit is the main subject of the intercessory prayer for the member who is in trouble and in need ” So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.” (Acts 12.5).
In the Church there isn’t only the prayer of intercession for the living, but also for the dead, and, as the Sacred Scripture attests, even the prayer for the dead for the living (cf. 2 Mac 15.11 to 12), by virtue of our faith in Christ and in His Resurrection. Life does not end with physical death, but, as Jesus shows on Tabor, who lived in Him, in life, even after his death continues to live in Him.
After all, Baptism that symbolizes dying in Christ to live in Christ, creates communion and joined the members to the One Body of Christ; members who may live a mysterious communication with one another, just through prayer.
The Church prays and intercedes for all its members, for the living and the dead, as God’s mercy, which proclaims salvation is for all peoples. Jesus Himself came to the lower world to announce it,”…being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which He went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison,“(1 Pet 3: 18-19).
So, we pray to God for the living, so that they may convert, and for the dead so that those who are in Purgatory may enjoy as soon as possible the fullness of glory promised by Jesus. God too rejoices when He sees that His children help each other, love each other, provide relief each other because, in this way, His Kingdom comes to fulfillment.
One day Jesus told Luisa that the charity most acceptable to Him is toward those who are closest to Him, that is the purging souls, because they are confirmed in His grace and there is no opposition between His Will and theirs
They live continuously in Him, they ardently love Him, and He is forced to see them suffer within Himself, impotent to give themselves the slightest relief on their own. And how pleasing to His Heart one who interests himself with them.
Luisa, in her life, with her life as a perfect image of Christ and as a continuous prayer, interceded for everything and for all. She repaired, through her acts in the Divine Will, the acts of all creatures, past, present and future, as living in the Divine Will is an act of complete reparation and of continual intercession for all the goods.
As the creature calls the Divine Will into her acts, into her prayer, It repeats that act together and prays together with the creature, and since with Its immensity Its finds Itself everywhere, the creation, the sun, the sky, the angels, the saints, they feel in themselves the strength of the creative prayer, and everyone prays. This prayer is omnipotent, it gives itself to everyone, so that the Divine Will possesses pregnant virtue.
How beautiful it is to see It pray in Its divine way! with its creative virtue that imposes itself on everyone and makes everyone pray, this prayer imposes itself on the divine attributes, and makes pour out rains of mercy, of grace, of pardon and of love; it is a divine prayer and can give everything!.
Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing,
so that the Jubilee of Mercy may (still) be a year of grace from the Lord,
and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor,
proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed,
and restore sight to the blind.
We ask this through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy,
you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.