Life after Death | Orthodox | 20

Be a Christian at least for 40 days

Especially this kind of sacrificial prayer, united with the efforts of the heart, linked with a rejection of a certain pleasure is needed for the dead during the first 40 days.

That is why, if someone really wants to help your son, daughter, mother, husband, wife, sister, brother – whom he loves sincerely, there is a remedy, it is within our hands, - man, give a part of your soul, a fraction of your usual, spiritual passive life.

Take upon you a small exploit:

Live these 40 days in feasible abstention of the body, temperance in feelings, continence of thoughts, compel yourself to pray, to read the Word of God.

Try to make peace with your enemies.
Make good to those who hate you – as per God’s commandments.

Fight your passions, try not to censure anyone, not to envy anyone, not to respond by evil to evil, confess and administer the Sacrament more often.

Purify your soul at least a little; control yourself at least for a short period of time – for the sake of your dearest person.

Tell yourself: “At least these 40 days I’ll try to be a Christian, I’ll try to live keeping the Gospel commandments”.

As is known, a friend in need is a friend indeed, love is revealed by self-sacrifice, by a deed, not at a festively laid out table, and not by intercession lists.

The more you will work at your own soul – at least these 40 days – the more effective for the departed will be your love for him.

Then your pray to God and your charity, your intercession lists and all other things will bring real help to the dead.

Here is what help is needed to the relative, close, beloved person.

A special need of a personal pray is understandable due to other reasons.

As a rule because of a long list of remembrance of the departed, priest is practically unable to pray with all his heart for the departed and everything is limited by pronouncing (aloud or to himself) the names of the dead, by taking out the communion particles from sacraments…

But, firstly, a prayer cannot be replaced by anything, and if a person does not pray himself, demons-tortures are not afraid of such remembrance.

Secondly, “this kind can come out only by prayer and fasting” (Mark, 9; 29).

However it is not difficult to understand how seldom such a person can be found (a priest, a monk, a lay man), who would really reject his comfort, pleasure, enjoyment and even the daily routine of his life in order to commit a prayer for the sake of your departed, intensified by an exploit.

But this is one of the conditions under which the Church remembrance comes into force.

The Saint Fathers unanimously assert, that God cannot save us against the will of the man himself, without his spiritual participation,

that is why where there is no our personal prayer, our compulsion to live according to the Gospel’s commandments, He cannot help us – He cannot hear that prayer, when there is none.

The belief that the main thing when a man is being remembered is the extraction of communion particles and pronouncing the name during the divine service

- is one of the most widely spread and destructive delusions
- destructive because it leaves us and our departed without God, without fruit.

St. John Chrysostom wrote:

Neither Baptism, nor remission of sins, nor knowledge, nor taking the communion, nor sacred meal, nor communion in the species of Bread,

nor communion in the species of Wine, nor anything else could bring us any benefit if we don’t start leading an honest life, strict and alien of any sin”.

As an example of the correct Orthodox attitude (as different from the pagan one) to a prayer for another person I’ll cite such an example:

A daughter of one of the Moscow priest has broken her leg.

He, despite being a man quite abstemious, took a decision:
I’ll not drink a gulp of wine until my daughter’s broken leg becomes healed”.

He combined his prayer with his exploit, restricted his flesh demands, tore away from himself a part of a pleasant life for the sake of the person whom he loved.

It was a real manifestation of love, it was a real sacrifice, which purifying him, brought him and his daughter a beneficial fruit, not only bodily, but what is incomparably more – spiritual.

I would like to emphasize once again, that only by forcing ourselves to keep commandments in life, to a prayer, we, as venerable Anthony the Great wrote, enter the communion with God and to the measure of this spiritual unification we become capable to render a spiritual assistance to another person.

The cleaner our soul is, the more the condition of the soul of our dead could change, which together with us and through us unites with God there to the extent we commune with Him here.

For in a prayer a spiritual communing of human souls occurs.
But a simple communing, but a communing in God.

That is why you should not believe stupid fairy tales that we mustn’t pray for someone, it is dangerous.

Praying is always useful. It attracts God’s mercy to the man praying and, undoubtedly, brings benefit to the departed.

The great benefit is to find a co-prayer, hermit, at least at these most responsible 40 days.