I attended a funeral recently of a man I used to work with. Something happened there that got me thinking. I can’t tell you how many Catholic funerals I’ve been to where I was assured that the deceased was with God in Heaven. And I wonder, why do we say this.
Here’s the thing. Those in Purgatory need prayers. Lots of them. So we need people to pray, not be assured that their loved one is in Heaven.
Why do we take the players off the field just when they’re needed? Here’s what I want you guys to say at my funeral:
Matt Archbold was fairly despicable at times. He was meaner than he was kind, proud of his humility, and not all that nice to his family or friends. Vain. Sarcastic. Selfish. While these may be qualites of a good blogger, they do not bode well for sainthood.
We have no reason to suspect that Matt Archbold is in Heaven. In fact, I’d just about guarantee he’s not. If God in his infinite mercy somehow allowed Matthew to enter Purgatory it would be a reflection of His mercy rather than any attributes Matt evidenced throughout his life.
Let us all assume, to be safe, that Matthew is in the bottom rung of Purgatory. Matthew’s fingernails are firmly dug into a cliff at the furthest edge of the Purgatory city limits and he’s hanging on there, his little feet dangling over Hell.
And the only way you can get him out of there and nearer to Heaven is through your prayers. Pray now. Pray on the ride home. Pray when you get home. Pray. Pray. Pray for days, weeks, and years to come. Please pray.
Matthew’s salvation depends on you so even though Matthew has surely disappointed God and everyone he ever knew. Please don’t disappoint him. He needs your prayers.
On the way out of Church, please sign up for the phone bank so you too can volunteer to call anyone who ever knew Matt to remind them to pray for him. Or you can sign up to go door to door asking people in your neighborhood to pray for Matt on a daily basis at around 6 p.m. (around dinnertime because that was Matt’s favorite time of the day.) Please have some Masses said. Lots of them.
So vehement was Matt on this point he has instructed us to lock you all in the Church for 24 hours. After 24 hours of diligent prayer you will be allowed to leave after signing your promissory note to pray often for Matt’s soul. That promissory note will be considered a legal contract and be notarized. If you fail to live up to your contract you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
In short, please pray as if Matthew’s soul depended on it. Because it does.