Hi, guys —
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my question; I haven't been able to find an answer on this yet. My question is:
- Can the salvation of one person be jeopardized by another person's failure to pray for them, evangelize them, etc.?
- If so, how does that compute with God's justice?
Recently, I read that Our Lady of Fatima stated that many souls go to Hell because they have no one to pray for them. That deeply disturbed me because it doesn't seem just that one person's salvation should be contingent upon another person's (action|inaction), especially to the extreme degree that the quote insinuates, if God is just and gives everyone a fair chance to be with Him in Heaven.
As a follow-up question. If other people's salvation is not contingent in any way on our actions, it would seem to follow that there is no urgency to pray for others, evangelize them, etc. and that doesn't seem quite right either.
- Can you tell me your thoughts on this line of thinking?
Again, I appreciate your time and look forward to your response.
Is a person's salvation contingent on others and, if not, why should we pray and evangelize them? }
There's an old saying: No man is an island. It means no person lives completely on his own, nor are we meant to. We all depend on the farmer, the butcher, the factory worker, the carpenter, etc., and the loving parent(s) to assist us in living this life. The same can be said about the spiritual life. It's not the economy of money, but of grace, that assists us with eternal life. The Church is one Body, the Body of Christ, which follows its Head (Christ) while the cells within help each other (spiritually) survive. Prayer, works, and sufferings united to Jesus on the Cross, pour out a font of grace (divine life) onto the world.
No one is never prayed for. The Church at Mass prays for the world continuously. There are also religious orders praying for the salvation of the world, along countless lay people.
Having said that, following reason, there must be some souls, through their own choices, who are so lost, that they need extra or specific personal prayers to get them over their spiritual blindness (and/or) stubbornness. Those souls may not make it if that font of extra grace does not pour down upon them. It is not unjust that those who choose self over God do not go to Heaven, yet, through the mercy of our prayers, even those who have greatly hardened their own hearts can be changed.
So everyone has a chance at Heaven since Christ died for all; but those who are not in a state of grace by their own doing cannot enter the kingdom of God. However, even these people have a chance at salvation by virtue of their hearts being melted by the grace that our extra prayers and sacrifices win for them.
That's my take on your question. My colleagues may add to it with their own take.
God has made us part of the economy of salvation, inasmuch as 24 we complete what is lacking in the Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body . . . the Church (cf. Colossians 1:24). He has called us to pray for others (cf. 1 Timothy 2), even those outside the Church, for He wills that all men be saved (cf. See also 1 Timothy 4:10).
Because we are Christ's Body now and we have a job to do. Our prayers and sacrifices do make a difference. God can save anyone, anytime and anyplace, and many are saved that we can't even imagine, but likewise, many are lost, perhaps more, because the path to destruction is wide (cf. Matthew 5:8).
- Why does God rely on us, or even want to?
Because it is more glorious (uplifting) to God to have his children participate in some way in salvation. It is not that we have any power on our own, but in the Spirit, we become God's children and implore our Father to shed his grace upon sinners. Prayer means something — and God responds to it because it is this relationship that is important. God is, in effect, building relationships, and we are part of that.
What you pointed out on the surface may seem unfair, but whatever appears that way is only because we cannot fully see everything from God's vantage. This Lent I am sick; last week I was in the hospital with a couple of health ailments and now can only consume a liquid diet with horrendous antibiotics every few hours. It is a type of suffering I hadn't bargained on, but I'm offering it up for the conversion of sinners. It counts. God looks down at us like He did at His Son Jesus who hung on a Cross for sinners, and because we live and breathe in Him, we can unite ourselves to Him and offer everything to the Father, who will take it and use it for others.
This is His plan, to His glory, for He gets greater satisfaction from watching His children emulate His love than doing everything strictly by Himself. One final caution — that doesn't mean we are somehow saviors on our own, only that we are empowered to participate in view of our relationship and reliance on Him.
I hope this helps. Trust our Lady of Fatima. She is bringing us insight into a grave reality that we can help remedy.
Thank you so much for your responses.
I'm a busy young mom so I'm not great about responding to e-mail in a timely way, but I wanted to let you know that I did read your thoughts and greatly appreciate them!
It gives me encouragement to pray for others more frequently!
Blessings this Holy Week!