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Praying for those in Purgatory
Q: Given Fr. Keating’s views on Purgatory, that one continues to grow and become enlightened, how does a person with a Centering Prayer practice pray for her loved ones in Purgatory?
A: Just by sitting in our Centering Prayer practice, we believe we are always praying for people past, present and in the future. When we pray in the mystical body of Christ, we are all one, so all are included. If there is someone special you want to remember then just tuck them into your heart as you enter the prayer. All are included even those persons who may be in purgatory. We can't be sure of the details, but we know, true to its name, that the process of purgatory is one of purification in preparation for entering into heaven -- for entering deeper into the heart of God. How long that will take we do not know. Fr. Thomas believes it takes place quickly during the dying and death process.
So your prayers can be for your loved one, it can be to your loved one, it could be recalling the wisdom of the loved one, it could be a conversation with your loved one, etc. It was and is an ongoing relationship. I would recommend you approach this relationship by tucking them in your heart during Centering Prayer and then afterward practice Lectio Divina with them: Pray for/with them, reflect on your memories of/with them, respond from your heart and then just enjoy resting in their presence. That is what the communion of saints is all about.
Enjoy the eternal relationship.
- Fr. Carl