PRAYING FOR THE DECEASED
“Love does not insist on its own way (οὐ ζητεῖ τὰ ἑαυτῆς, does not seek its own things); it is not irritable or resentful... Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” (1 Cor 13: 5b, 7-8a)
I’m thinking about this passage today, on the “Memorial Saturday” one week before Lent when we pray for the deceased, because I think it explains a lot about the whole business of praying for the deceased. It is natural, if we love them.
Just as it is natural for a believing person to pray for the beloved living, particularly if we have been separated from them physically or geographically, for whatever reason, so is it natural for such a person to pray for the beloved deceased. Because "love never ends." And prayer connects us, in God, because we find unity in Him and in praying "to" Him "for" someone. Love persists in prayer, selflessly, or “not seeking its own things” as St. Paul says above, even when the outcome of that prayer is most often unknown, as it is in the case of our prayers for the deceased. We continue to “hope all things,” as we persist in loving prayer for those from whom we have been separated in their physical death.
So let me maintain and nurture my connection, – a connection called “love,” – with the already-deceased, by remembering them in prayer. Because love never ends, neither in this world nor in the one to come.