The first happened, but the second did not. Why?
It is, to Catholics, a thoroughly perplexing question because the answer lies precisely in Sacred Scripture; an answer, moreover, that accords with both reason and common sense.
Let us answer it, then, not simply as we understand it, but as the earliest Christians understood it, as the Apostles themselves understood it. St. Paul tells us the following:
St. James, likewise exhorts us to,
We see clearly the exhortation of two of the Apostles to pray for one another.
Despite this, the question persists:
“Why should we pray for each other if it is sufficient to pray
directly to God?”
But we also see that we can assist another by petitioning God on their behalf. This is part of what Catholics understand in the beautiful doctrine of the Communion of the Saints, or the unity of all God’s children — both those alive, and those who have died — who form the One Body of Christ, which is His Holy Catholic Church: both those living and those who have died. Christ was very clear about this when He told the Sadducees,
Christ is telling the Sadducees
that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are not dead, after all — but alive!
Consider this: when we die and (hopefully) go to Heaven, do we become different people from the people that we are now? Do we cease loving those whom we now love? Do we forget those for whom we now care? If we did, then we would be different persons from the persons that we are on Earth. We would be, in a word, less than human, for it is part of our human nature to ever love whom we love and to be mindful of those we love. It is indefeasible to love and therefore indefeasible to man. If we are becoming perfect through Purgatory, or are already perfected in our humanity in Heaven — how could we be less human than we are now? Would we consider a person perfected or perfect — who no longer loves whom they loved on Earth, and who is no longer mindful of them nor cares any longer for them? We would say of such that they did not love us after all, for when apart from us they completely forget us. We are created in the imago Dei, in the image of God — Who Is Love — in Heaven, then, will we be less like God or more like God — Who Is Love? Will we love more perfectly, or less perfectly?
If imperfect, selfish and sinful people on Earth can love others and be mindful of them, ever solicitous of them, never forgetting them, and always striving to do good for them — how much more so when we are perfect in Heaven?
In the end, you really know nothing of love until you really know something of the Communion of the Saints. Some of them have gone before you, and some remain with you, but all of them never cease loving you.
1 2 Timothy 2.4
Totally Faithful to the Sacred Deposit of Faith entrusted to the Holy See in Rome
opera tua ... quia modicum habes virtutem, et servasti verbum Meum, nec non
negasti Nomen Meum”
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