Friday, March 2, 2012

REQUIEM MASSES--DON'T YOU MISS THEM?

On a previous post I lamented that so many of our funeral Masses are now turning into "celebration of life" or "canonizations" where the merits of the one being remembered outnumber the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ who alone merits us salvation.

But our Funeral Masses are blah and superficial. The music we allow to be chosen in place of the official texts for the introit, and offertory and communion antiphons scream to heaven to be put out of their misery and purified in Purgatory.

For the Ordinary Form of the Funeral Mass, I mean Requiem, these are the official chants for the Introit and Communion antiphons. Have your ever heard these chanted at a funeral Mass?

Eternal Rest Grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.

or

Eternal rest grant unto him/her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him/her.

or

May the Lord open to him/her the gates of Paradise, that he/she may return to that homeland where there is no death, where eternal joy endures.

Or During the Easter Season:

Just as Jesus died and rose again, so, through Jesus, God will brig with Him those who have fallen asleep; and as in Adam all die, so also in Christ will all be brought to life Alleluia.

And now the Communion Antiphon choices:

Let perpetual light shine upon the, with your Saints forever, for you are merciful,. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them with your saints forever, for you are merciful.

or

We await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will change our mortal bodies and conform with his glorified body.

or during the Easter season:

I am the Resurrection and the life, says the Lord. Whoever believes in me, even though he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will not die forever. alleluia.

I bet most people only hear "Be Not Afraid" and "On Eagle Wings" not to mention, "Amazing Grace" and "How Great Thou Art" but somehow these devotional songs don't compare with the official texts of Requiem Masses do they?

As our culture continues to be a culture of death, the paradox is that our culture denies death and its accompanying grief. Officials of the Church have allowed this denial of death and what the Catholic Church teaches about death to infiltrate our Funeral liturgies. We no longer speak of personal judgment or the Final Judgment, the need for purification after death and the merits of Jesus Christ who alone can save us for nothing we do on our own merits will do it, not even our good works, which usually means in a eulogy context, that the dead guy was great fun, loved life and hunted a lot and knew how to party.

I've had so-called grieving family members ask for songs that aren't sad, like Joyful, Joyful but they haven't asked yet for "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning" yet, that is!

And that's the way it is.


8 comments:

pinanv525 said...

Fr, You are so correct. I used to get so tired of the mawkish songs and sermons at protestant funerals, not to mention the bad theology. I insisted on planning the funeral services of my Protestant parishioners (with guided family input). There were songs I actually disallowed, and others I always included (Abide With Me, A Mighty Fortress...with Luther's words!), songs that were Christological and that stressed the Sovreignty of God. I have never used the phrase "celebration of life" for fear I would vomit during my sermon. I always closed with the following prayer from Calvin from an old volume called, "St. Augustine's Prayerbook:" "Bless, O lord, the departed soul of our Brother....,whom we love and now no longer see. Grant him your peace, make your Holy Light to shine upon him and, in your infinite love and mercy, work in him the purpose of your good and perfect will through Jesus Christ our Lord." Don't forget, Calvin was a devout Catholic for many years!

Ray V. said...

Excellent points, Father. I expounded a bit with my blog, http://villageundertaker.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/requiem-masses/

Oremus Pro Invicem

Ray. V.
Aiken, SC

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Thanks Ray, I know many fine people at St. Mary's in Aiken, many would come to Most Holy Trinity in Augusta on occasion when I was there. We also had a Dominican Priest of the Western Province give us our pre-Lenten mission, Father Serge Propst who was born and reared in Aiken and became a Catholic through St. Mary's and Msgr. Smith in the 1960's I bevel. He lives now in Oakland, CA

Anonymous said...

How can one miss a Requiem Mass if one never knew a Requiem Mass?
The only ones I've ever known are on All Souls Day at St. Joseph Church in Macon GA.

Sad but true...

An entire generation has had their perpective highjacked.

~SL

htpp://villageundertaker.wordpress.com said...

Thank you Father.

Yes, there were many that traveled across the river to MHT, including myself from time to time. Now that we have a new pastor that adheres to Church teaching, many are staying here and our parish has a new sense of spiritual excitement. RJV

Templar said...

You speak truth SL. How can we miss the Requiem when it has been denied to us for decades. At least 2 generations have been fed Protestant Funeral services and coerced into believing this "celebration of life" was what the departed needed. I am ashamed that in my ignorance in 2002 I was party to such Heresy, Eulogizing my departed Mother. Had I know then what I know now I would never have done so. I have said may a rosary before her grave since then in reparation for my ignorance and for being party to such nonsense, and have sought many an indulgence for her to try and make amends.

I can not forgive the liberal Clergy for what they denied my Mother; and for making me a party to it. They are the tools of the Devil, willingly or otherwise.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Templar watch the hyperbole or you might be condemned to the everlasting fires of Gehenna for your impenitent unforgiving heart. No Requiem not matter how grand will help you then! :)

pinanv525 said...

Huh? What hyperbole?