I am currently reading A Song for Nagasaki by Fr. Paul Glynn. It is an inspiring story of Takashi Nagai, detailing his spiritual journey from Shintoism to atheism to Catholicism. It is woven with family history, heroic tales, and stoic virtues while revealing interesting details about Japanese history and culture. The biography traces his spiritual quest which reveals providential influences that helped shape his journey. I am only 65 pages into the book, however, today I read something that brought tears to my eyes and made me think of my mom.
I share something in common with Takashi Nagai, the death of a mother. As sorrowful as it was at that time, God used that "bad" situation and made much "good" out of it, using it to bring both of us into a deeper relationship with him. For Takashi Nagai, in the very last moments of his mother's life, her eyes spoke to his and revealed to him that the human spirit lives on after death. As an atheist, it was hard for him to grasp, however he could not but believe. This moment of grace spurred his spiritual journey. In 2006 at the time of my mother's death, I was a cradle Catholic, a Sunday mass goer, attending a Renew group in my parish, slowly getting interested & involved in my faith - I probably considered myself a "good person". God was definitely working in my life, but I did not notice it yet. The death of my mom was a major impetus in my spiritual journey. Immediately after her death I became very concerned for my mother's soul and gratefully a priest ministered to me and answered all of my questions with much love and wisdom. My job as was to pray for her soul. And pray I did; for her soul and all the souls in purgatory. Much later as I grew in my faith I came to understand that part of our job as Church Militant, the living Church on earth, is to pray for Church Suffering, the souls in purgatory.
I often think of my mom, especially during days such as these. While I'd like to believe that her soul is now part of Church Triumphant, enjoying eternal glory in heaven with God the Father, The Son & The Holy Spirit and all the angels and the saints, I'd rather continue to grow my faith in prayer for her soul and others. Please join me in praying for my mother's soul, Takashi Nagai's soul, and all the souls in purgatory.
St. Gertrude the Great is invoked for souls in purgatory and for living sinners. Our Lord told St. Gertrude that the following prayer would release 1000 souls from purgatory each time it is said. The prayer was extended to include living sinners as well. So let us pray,
"Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen."