Text Box: Volume 23 No. 4           OF THE CHURCH
Text Box:  OF MAN WITH GOD November, 2013 A.D.
REUNIONText Box: evil as to be unable to enter into heaven, or to have rejected God, then the living neglect praying for those dead, believing prayer for them would be of no benefit to them. In such instances the living not only commit the sin of presumption, but also commit the sin of judging. Judging is the sole purview of God, and none of us is God.

In both instances the Devil induces the living to sin, and deprives the dead of the benefit of prayers from the living.

It is very important to remember and to realize that the dead you are sure are in heaven, and the dead you are sure are in hell, may both be relying on your prayers to expedite their purification and thus usher them into heaven and full union with God.

Prayers for the dead are of such great importance that God singled out a man named Tobias, who was devoted to praying for the dead. The government of his time (as have many governments throughout history) wished to abolish worship of the true God, and to encourage the populace to engage in every possible immorality, as a means of securing their power through permissive behavior. The concept behind this policy is that a culture which has abandoned Godís moral absolutes is more likely to be able to be bribed by a government which allows or supports the sins large numbers of members of that culture desire to commit. The government which ruled Tobias therefore banned burial of the dead with religious ceremonies. 

Tobias ignored the government regulations, and suffered financially because of it. The Devil even possessed his daughter-in-law, as a test from God - as a test of his perseverance.

Saint Raphael the Archangel then Text Box: Holy Innocents Orthodox Church
Parish, and Retreat House for
 The Society of Clerks Secular of Saint Basil 
[Within the Ecumenical Patriarchate]

From Metropolitan Archbishop Lee S. Mc Colloster, S.S.B.
To the flock entrusted into my care:

In the time of Christ, a king or a wealthy person often would supply proper attire to those wedding guests who did not possess attire proper for the situation. Also, simple courtesy of that time included providing water and that which was necessary for a guest to wash and refresh themselves.

The correlation between these customs, and the opportunity to attain eternal salvation which God has made available to us, is obvious.

We also know that the, if you will, process of attaining eternal salvation may accurately be described as operating divinely. What we often neglect is active pursuit of operating divinely, especially as that applies to that which is not constantly brought to our attention.

We should remember that as members of the Communion of Saints, members of the Body of Christ, and aspirants to permanence in the Kingdom of God, we actually are members one of another.

None of us is capable of attaining eternal salvation unaided. We each need God to provide us with what is needed for us to freshen up, and with our wedding attire. The living are able to work with God in this endeavor. The dead are not. 

Text Box: Without assistance from the living, the dead must proceed through the purification process dependent solely on the parameters which God has established. And only God knows what those parameters are. But the Communion of Saints is a real interconnection of all true Christians, whether living or dead. And the Body of Christ is a real entity. Each in its own fashion shares the positive and the negative of every condition, strength, weakness, effect, and everything else of every member. This means each of us is able to positively effect every other member. Each of us is able to spiritually assist every other member; including the dead; especially the dead who will but have not yet attained heaven.

Assisting the dead through prayers, alms, and sacrifices - particularly the Sacrifice of the Divine Liturgy, is so important that the Devil induces the living to believe that there is no Purgatory, no Limbo, only Heaven or Hell. If he is unable to have one of us join him for all eternity in Hell, he figurers he can at least prolong that personís purification process by encouraging the living to believe that prayers for the dead are not necessary.

The Devil also uses the sin of presumption, and the sin of judging the spiritual status of others, to induce the living to neglect praying for the dead. When the living deem a dead person to have been so good and holy that they must be in Heaven, then the living neglect praying for those dead believing prayer for them is not necessary. But this is nothing more, nor less, than engaging in the sin of presumption. It is supplanting Godís perfection of knowledge, wisdom, and holiness, with human imperfection. Only through the operations of the Holy Ghost may a valid declaration of Sainthood be made. When the living deem a dead person to have been so