Another great thing about being Catholic is that it’s okay to talk about death and dying in November. In fact, it’s hard NOT to hear talk if you come to Mass every week. The month opens with the Feasts of All Saints on the first and the Feast of All Souls on the second. Sunday readings this month mostly deal with being prepared for death, the end of the world, and the judgment all will face after death.
Here is a theological statement and a prayer or blessing that are no longer part of my experience any more.
(1) In the days before email, whenever one of our diocesan priests died, a simple card was sent to all priests with the details of when and where the funeral would be. It so aptly sums up what Catholics and some other Christians do as they gather to celebrate the life and mourn the death of one we love.
We come together to
mourn because we are human,
to rejoice because we are Christian,
to thank God for the gift of his life,
and to celebrate the power of Jesus’ resurrection.
Not only was the card an example of good theology, it was also a reminder that my name and funeral arrangements would one day be so distributed. Alas!
(2) In what I think was then known as the Rite of Christian Burial when I was first ordained was a beautiful blessing that I’ve never been able to find in the Order of Christian Funerals used since 1989. What a beautiful expression of our hopes and prayers for the deceased.
Peace be with those who have left us and have gone to God.
May they be at peace.
May they be with God.
May they be with the living God.
May they be with the immortal God.
May they be in God’s hands.
May they sleep in peace.
May they live in peace.
May they be where the name of God is great.
May they be with the living God now and on the day of judgment.
May they live with God.
May they live in eternal light.
May they live in the peace of the Lord.
May they live forever in peace,
With God in peace. Amen.
These are gone, but not forgotten.
[PHOTO by TOCIAMC on photobucket.com]