Thursday, September 23, 2010

Requiem aeternam

My intention at Mass this morning was for a priest who had just died. I know little about him apart from the fact the he was an older man who had held the faith and kept the faithful safe in various places during his priestly ministry. The Divine Office, at least as I know it, concludes with prayers for all the faithful departed, and they are always, at least, remembered in the Canon of the Mass. Still, it does worry me that we don't pray enough for the dead. We probably need to make up for the neglect of years, for those we have forgotten to pray for, for those poor souls who received attempted canonization rites rather than the prayers their souls desperately needed.

Our obligations to pray for the dead are not an option, not a devotion or duty that we dip into at leisure. But frail beings as we are we need help. There are several associations that continue to promote prayer for the faithful departed. Amongst these are the Holy Souls Crusade based in Ireland where other links will be found to prayers and organisations.

"The Holy Souls are eager for the prayers of the faithful which can gain indulgences for them. Their intercession is powerful. Pray unceasingly. We must empty Purgatory!" -- Saint Pius of Pietrelcina


  1. It's a pity there is not a cheap and readily available edition of the Officium Defunctorum.

    Some years ago I had a beautiful leather bound pocket book Manuale Precum with Ordo Missae, Parvum Officium and Officum Defunctorum. But such books are very rare now.

    I wonder at the number of laymen who struggle to say the Breviarium Romanum and forget about the beautiful and simple Officium Defunctorum. One could spend a lifetime meditating on the readings from the Book of Job.

    "Quare de vulva exduxisti me?" indeed.

  2. I SO agree with you. All my friends talk as if all their departed loved ones are heaven. I think it's called automatic sainthood. My good Catholic sister told me she prays regularly TO our ancestors. When I suggested it might be better to pray FOR them she said that I was just SO old fashioned.

    All those prayers that our beloved dead so long for, wasted.


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