My mom got a call from Japan last Tuesday. It was my Uncle Toshi wanting to deliver a message from my grandfather...who passed away more than 40 years ago. Nobody laughed at my Uncle's revelation for it struck a chord on all of us. Nobody doubted him because we all knew about his sixth sense. He was trained by hermits and mystics in the deep mountains of Japan. Call him a ghost whisperer if you will. And the message is thus:
"To all the sons and daughters of mine, I am Bernardo A. My soul is enraged at your neglect of my remembrance. You never bothered to visit my grave. You never included me in your prayers. You only think about what you will inherit from my demise. You never offer Mass for me on my death anniversary, my birthdate. This is the reason why I keep your inheritance, for you do not commemorate and respect your own father..."
[Writing down this message gives me the goosebumps.] My own father and his siblings realized how selfish they are. They were all guilty of abandoning the spirit of their father. But that's how most of us live. We rarely see ourselves as eternal beings that is beyond the physical form. Death is actually the beginning and not the end of a longer and more strenuous journey of our lives. Whatever wrong we have done in our earthly life we have to pay for when we expire. Through indulgences, our punishment in the afterlife will be lessened.
An indulgence, in the theology of Roman Catholicism, is the remission of the temporal punishment due to God for a Christian's sins.
The Roman Catholic Church grants these indulgences after the guilt of sin and its punishment of eternal damnation have been remitted by the sacrament of reconciliation, also known as penance, or by perfect contrition. Under Roman Catholic theology, the salvation made possible by Jesus Christ allows the faithful sinner eventual admittance to Heaven. Baptism wipes the sinner's slate clean and results in the full forgiveness of sins; but any sin committed after baptism incurs a penalty that has not been forgiven. Serious sins are mortal sins; they extinguish sanctifying grace in the believer's soul, and doom the sinner to Hell. For these sinners, grace must be restored by perfect contrition or the sacrament of Reconciliation; even so, there remains a penalty owed to God that must be expiated in this world or in the afterlife. Other, less serious sins, are venial sins and incur a penalty owed to God even if they do not forfeit salvation. Indulgences remove some or all of these temporal penalties owed on account of the sins of the faithful.
Indulgences can be applied either to the penitent's own sins, or for the alleviation of the penance of souls in Purgatory. Obtaining an indulgence for another living person is disallowed by canon law. To successfully apply an indulgence to your own sins, you must be a baptised Christian, a member of the Roman Catholic Church, not subject to excommunication, and have the intention of performing the work for which the indulgence is granted.
I myself have been guilty of not including my grandfather in my prayers. I only pray for my mother's parents because I know them so well from stories passed on by relatives. My father prays for 2 hours each day and never offers any intention for my grandparents. He and his siblings would pray for their inheritance and beg God daily to make them rich quick. Yes, it's really sad. Who knew that the dead has feelings and sentiments just like the living. I guess this is the reason why my father-in-law never bothered us eversince he passed away. For every Sunday my husband's relatives would visit his grave and spend time with him for a few hours to pray for his soul and say hello. No wonder the Chinese are very lucky in business for they respect and honor their dead like the living. But my father and his siblings never bothered to visit or clean his grave for decades even if they come home from all parts of the world. And when they finally did, they discover a damaged grave, a worn and crumbling tombstone reflecting family that has forgotten the face of their father. Please pray for the souls of Bernardo and Josefa Aldana and all the poor souls in purgatory. Thank you.