It has been an ancient practice of the church to pray for the deceased. The church prays “for all in Christian and catholic fellowship departed, even without mentioning...their names, under a general commemoration.”1 Each mass allows the church, at once locally and universally, to solicit for all the dead: Grant them, O Lord, we pray, and all who sleep in Christ, a place of refreshment, light and peace.2
Commemorating All the Faithful Departed is not only about our affection for and remembering our dead. It’s about the Trinity’s affection for us and remember-ing us. When the Trinity remem-bers us their remembering surpasses human memory because the Trinity creates us moment by moment as Father, Son, Holy Spirit remember us. So that would be less abstract and more concrete, Jesus showed great affection for his disciples in every age by giving his body and blood to nourish us on our pilgrim way through life6 and to strengthen our identities as created in the divine image and redeemed to be saints.
- Allow them to present you to Jesus, our Creator and Redeemer.
- Speak with Jesus about the ways your affection chooses Jesus, and Jesus’ affection chooses you.
- Ask for the grace to choose him more single-heartedly.
- Desire two things: to grow more aware of his Father’s affection for us and how they desire us to grow more intimately connected with Jesus and one another, living and deceased; and to act on our desire by the ways we live the church’s faith—Jesus’ faith—each day we are alive.
- St. Augustine, On the Care To Be Had for the Dead, 6.
- Eucharistic Prayer I. Each Eucharistic Prayer remembers the faithful departed with different wording.
- Order of Christian Funerals 176, 203, 294, 315, 339.
- On the Care To Be Had for the Dead. Sixteen times in its 23 sections: Sections 5; 6 (3 times); 7 (4 times); 9 (3 times); 10; 11 (2 times); 22 (2 times).
- On the Care To Be Had for the Dead, 7.
- Prayer after Communion, Order of Christian Funerals, 410.