It seems to be an attempt to modify the doctrine of Purgatory in that the faithful are asked to pray for the deceased soul for 40 days after death during which time they traverse the natural and supernatural worlds, according to this Russian Orthodox tradition. Catholic dogma is more clear. Particular Judgment occurs at death. The soul goes to heaven, hell or purgatory. If heaven or hell, there is no chance of leaving either, before or after 40 days since death. Purgatory is not necessarily 40 days for everyone or anyone. It may be hours, days, weeks, years, centuries, or millennia depending on the individual person and the attachment to sin and temporal punishment due to sin they accumulated during life. We do not say the soul wanders the earth for 39 or 40 days. The soul is judged and goes directly to heaven, hell or purgatory. They do not haunt houses, or walk the earth as ghosts.
-- Fr. John Trigilio on 06-07-2007 (http://www.catholic-bulletin.blogspot.com/2007/06/40-days-after-death.html)
40 days after the death of my honey, JP Tolledo, many were uninvited. Restricting to only the closest and wanted by the immediately family. Why is 40 days a very important number?
Why does the Church feel it necessary to offer so many prayers during the first few days? The soul does not lose its consciousness; it is aware of what is going on, but is unable to communicate with the living in any way. Being perhaps bewildered by the strangeness, the prayers must be a great comfort. Moreover, it has to face a great trial. Accusing demons will come and try to find some unrepented sin, even a forgotten one, and if their accusations are not outweighed by the virtues presented by the angels, together with the prayers offered up by the faithful, then the unhappy soul may well be dragged away by the demons.
For forty days the newly departed is prayed for by the priest at the Liturgy... It is a custom to serve a pannikhida (Mass of the dead) on the ninth day, and more importantly on the fortieth, when, by popular belief, the soul is conducted to the habitation prepared for it, where it will stay until the Dread Judgment.
The soul is judged as soon as its flesh and blood is destroyed. We pray because we want their soul to be peaceful. At times, we'd want to settle their unfinished business just so we can put them to rest. During times of death of a loved one, the most important thing is not yourself but the wishes of your loved one.
If you truly love your departed loved one, would you honor his wishes even if it hurts you? He wants to be happy. Its the sole reason I'm trying to be happy. I know its wrong because even as he died, I'm still thinking about him and still making him the center of my daily life.
Uninvited, unhonored at his 40 days, why do I still keep hurting myself? I wouldn't be there if I didn't love him. Someday I know the memories would no longer bring pain, but joy. The joy of sharing most of the days of our near-three-year relationship with the one we loved the most--the one who holds our heart.