After Brett passed away, it seemed to me that God was giving me signs that he was saved (for which I am so grateful). I asked a priest, whom I knew was faithful to the Magisterium of the Church, if I could count on this. His answer I have never forgotten. It has helped me in so many ways even though it was difficult to hear at first!
He said that yes, God could have let me know this (and he believed it was true) but that this would be considered "Private Revelation" which is always subject to human misinterpretation and even deception from the evil one so I should not share this with others as if it is Gospel Truth. He went on to say that the danger is that this type of private revelation can lead us away from helping our loved ones with our prayers & sacrifices because we are presuming that because they are saved they are automatically in heaven. This has never been the teaching of the Church. Instead, the Church teaches that unless a person has an "St." (as in Saint) in front of his/her name we should not assume he/she is already in heaven and has no need of our prayers. This is the teaching of the Church and has been from the very beginning.
God letting me know that Brett was saved is not incompatible with praying for his soul. It is the logical next step for a Catholic Christian (or at least it should be...)
Using sacrifice beads can help us to make our whole day into a prayer & offering for our loved ones who have died.
Before I explain the beads here is some background for their use.
If you think about it, there are so many different types of suffering and crosses that people carry. There are crosses of difficult situations at work; of illness - physical, psychological, emotional, etc.; crosses of gender identity crisis; addiction, loneliness, grief, bereavement and loss; the crosses of infertility - just to name a few. It helps me to remember that this earthly life is not paradise - it is a preparation for paradise in heaven. It is a time of testing; a time to cooperate with God so that He can increase our capacity to love Him for all eternity. A time to live by the dark night of Faith which means believing in His love even when he seems absent or distant or asleep on the job. It is a time to grow in virtue and to grow in our ability to sacrificially love other people, even our enemies. Suffering & difficulties are two of the tools that God uses to accomplish all of this growth in our lives.
"In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Without having seen him you love him; though you do not now see him you believe in him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy. As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls" (1 Peter 1:6-9).
“Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).
Our secular culture does not clearly understand this and therefore does not understand the deeper purpose & meaning of suffering. This is because our society is predominantly hedonistic, meaning that the number one goal seems to be the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain - at all costs. How different is the Way that Jesus taught us:
"If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Matthew 16:24).
Jesus is asking us to imitate Him by the way we handle suffering and difficulties (our crosses). He accepted the pain and suffering He experienced and didn’t retaliate but instead He responded with love. He “offered his suffering up” as a sacrifice and as a prayer of intercession for us:
“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
That is what he is asking us to do too because He knows that our crosses contain within them hidden treasures that He will make available to us if we struggle to do this. Accepting our crosses with trust and offering them to God with love is a means to a deeper intimacy with Him and is one of the most powerful ways that we are conformed to His image:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters” (Romans 8:28-29).
Here is a concrete example taken from scripture:
The following scripture passage uses the example of Christ’s humi