I remember that elder Arsenios prayed for the reposed and he had a small vision, let`s call it so. He saw that he was in a very beautiful place with many tents. And there were families, people who were very happy. The elder entered a tent and simple as he was he asked them:
`What are you doing here ? Does anyone visit you?`
`Yes hieromonk Bartholomew visits us and brings us gifts.`
`Hieromonk Bartholomew made Liturgies at the Monastery of Saint Paul. How great is the benefit of the divine Liturgy! That`s why the elders when they were leaving this life said: `Mention my name, son, at the divine Liturgies!`
If the man has found his salvation his peace increases. At the Liturgy we take out pieces for the Theotokos, for the 12 ranks of angels, for the saints. Why do we take out pieces for them since they are saved and they are near the Throne of God? We take them out because in this way their glory is increased. God adds glory and never stops to give peace to the souls.
I remember elder Ephrem from Katounakia told me about this too. During the Liturgy in his dream were coming some raggedy poor wounded people and they were saying to him:
`Father, you forgot us.`
He woke up upset.
`These are the souls who need that. I mention all their names.`
Geronda, don`t you have any other names?`
`I don`t have, father. Only those from Proscomidy.`
He searched and he searched but he didn`t find anything. The next day he served the Liturgy mentioning the same names. After the Liturgy he went to take a rest and had the same vision.
`Father, you forgot us !`
`Geronda, don`t you have any names in your cell ?`
`No, I don`t, father.`
`Look well on the Holy Table !`
He searched and found same names under the last cover, over the board of the Holy Table. He took them and mentioned them and from that moment on they didn`t appear anymore.
Someone must have a state of grace for being in that point to act and pray in this way. He must live an ascetic life, pray, kneel down, give alms, study, confess, commune and in general his life must be full of vigilance. Thus his prayers becoming pure will succeed to do this great thing for the souls of the chained ones, of the people from hell, for `Christ who died`.
So many people die and nobody takes care about that. They are forgotten by everybody. We take care only about our relatives, our parents and make parastasis, rows of prayers for the peace of their souls. But for these ones we didn`t kneel, we didn`t shed any tear, we didn`t raise our hands for prayer. And when the priest makes the remembrance at Proscomidy he must mention both the names of the monks and of the laymen who are present there. There`s a tradition when the bell rings for all those who are attending the service in the church who should mention names. Since we all form the Church of Christ, the Church doesn`t mean only the priest.
Let us try to become spiritual people and approach Christ much more to speak to Him. The more we approach Him, the closer we get to the ear of God to tell Him about those who suffer. When you pray for you, for your families remember these unhappy souls who don`t have where to lie down their heads.
Christ died on the Cross for every soul and His divine Justice seeks a reason to show mercy for these people, to justify their release from their damnation. God takes care of these souls who are in hell. But His Justice imposes this to be kept there.
However His mercy comes from another side and says : `Pray for them !` Why? So that God may find a reason for His mercy to overcome His Justice and to send His mercy at those who suffer there.
And we the wretched ones, being darkened by sin and ignorance don`t give any reason to Christ to show His mercy towards them.
I wish you, my sons, to receive grace from Christ, to receive enlightenment from Him and power and above all the grace of mercy to have mercy for those souls who left this life. And when we don`t forget them, then God doesn`t forget us when being found in the same need. In this way our fasting and strife will become well pleasing before God. And let us thank God that He considered us worthy to be Orthodox Christians and to have this chance to show mercy and strive for being in His glory forever with Him. Amen.
Excerpt from the book The Art of Salvation published by Evanghelismos.