Ragpat Prayer for the Dead and Quest for Transcendence

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Tecah C. Sagandoy


Among members of a Christian Spiritist group, it is believed that earthbound souls seek help from the living through omens, visions, dreams, mediums, or infliction of illness. Consequently, ragpat ti minatay [lifting of the soul], an intercessory prayer for the dead, is performed to help alleviate the sufferings of the earthbound soul seeking for help. As a member of the Spiritist group, I had the privilege to observe and participate in the conduct of ragpat ti minatay (ragpat, for brevity), thus, acquiring information that may not be readily accessible to non-members. My interviews with key informants and participants have revealed that the primary reason behind ragpat is helping ease the burdens of earthbound souls or suffering souls who are restless spirits fleeing to and fro or bounded in a dark state or place and ensuring these souls of a better spiritual state, happier and more peaceful than earthly life. For Spiritists considering themselves Christians, praying for the dead (i.e. ragpat) is a duty meant to be fulfilled in accordance with the Christian virtue of charity, in that loving and helping one another is extended to the living and the dead. A successful ragpat rests on the proper observance of its elements. Its success is also dependent on the soul’s willingness to repent, but ultimately, the success of ragpat rests on God’s forgiveness and abundant grace to repentant souls.

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