As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of people.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him. (Matthew 4:18-20)
Being “fishers of people” can take many forms. One does not have to be a vowed religious to be a fisher of people. We are all called to be evangelizers. We can evangelize with our words, our actions, and our prayers. We can evangelize the living, but we can also work for the salvation of those who have already passed, the holy souls in purgatory, or for those who will die suddenly and unprepared, and it seems the numbers of those increase daily.
For a long time now, I have felt called to pray for those who will die unprepared. In 2007 I had a dream* in which I was in a car by the seashore. Suddenly the sea started to rise very quickly. Many people were unprepared. I saw that many of the unprepared were famous people. They were trapped by the rising water and drowned. Then a great tsunami rose and rushed towards us. We could not escape it but I felt that we had a better chance of surviving if we stayed in our car, thinking that the car could take the pounding better than we could and we might escape with our lives.
I felt afterwards that this dream was a call to pray for those whose hearts are spiritually unprepared and who are in grave spiritual danger. Our “vehicle of safety” is the Church. It will be battered by upcoming events, but we are far safer within it than we would be outside of it.
Just before Christmas 2016 I had another dream. I was looking out over the harbor and saw a large cruise ship being towed into port by a tug. I thought, “That’s unusual. We don’t usually get cruise ships here.” After it docked I went to see it. There was absolutely no sign of life on it or around it. After waking I felt the ship represented death, and that it was waiting to be filled.
I feel that both dreams are calls to pray for those who may die suddenly and unprepared. Certainly, the times we are in has seemed to make this more urgent than ever, as sporadic and unpredictable outbreaks of terrorism, war, and disaster threaten people everywhere.
Do not let this fill you with dread. God does not call us to prayer without a promise of hope attached. Instead, be filled with the firm belief that God will hear your prayers for souls and use your sacrifices to save many who may be lost without them. Death is hard for those left behind, but the real tragedy occurs when souls are lost to eternity. Offering prayers for souls is one way that we can be a sure sign of hope for others. I encourage all of us to step up our efforts.
The following prayer has been around a long time. I pray it daily at the end of my Divine Mercy chaplet.
“Merciful Jesus, lover of souls, we beseech you by the agony of your most Sacred Heart and by the sorrows of your Immaculate Mother, to wash clean in your blood the sinners of the whole world who are now in their final agony, but especially those on their way to eternal damnation and who are to die this day. Heart of Jesus, who suffered death’s agony, have mercy on these poor souls. Amen.”
We are a people of hope and our God of hope has given us powerful weapons against the culture of death, one of the greatest of which is the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. We know we can trust Jesus and believe in the promise he made to St. Faustina:
“At the hour of their death, I defend as My own glory every soul that will say this chaplet; or when others say it for a dying person, the indulgence is the same.” (Diary, 811)
“My daughter, encourage souls to say the chaplet which I have given to you. It pleases Me to grant everything they ask of Me by saying the chaplet. … Write that when they say this chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge but as the merciful Savior.” (Diary, 1541).
God’s mercy is unimaginable! Even more so in that he uses weak sinners as his instruments of mercy on earth. Just as St. Faustina was often taken in spirit to the side of dying souls so she could pray the chaplet in their presence, in the Divine Will we can ask for the same grace, for nothing is impossible for God. “Jesus, in the Divine Will, take me into the presence of those in most dire need of your mercy as I pray this chaplet…”
God is calling us to participate in his ministry of salvation. May our Blessed Mother guide us and help us in the battle for the souls of her beloved children.
O my Jesus, I love you, I trust you, I surrender myself to you. Please take care of everything and everyone in my spiritual territory. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I love you. Save souls!
(For related reading you may appreciate this article titled, “Praying for Grandma’s Soul” by June Klins: http://tinyurl.com/jax45na )
(*I always interpret dreams primarily as calls to prayer and avoid literal interpretation.)