Monday, September 01, 2008

Requiem Mass


Tomorrow, our parish will have a Requiem Mass. It will be Low Mass because our schola members are in school and cannot miss classes. They could have learned the Propers in time, but the Dies Iræ takes a little more work. That said, the Requiem Mass has some of the most beautiful prayers.

The Introit says this:
Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis. Psalm 64:2-3. Te decet hymnus, Deus, in Sion, et tibi reddetur votum in Jerusalem: exaudi orationem meam, ad te omnis caro veniet. Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord: and let perpetual light shine upon them. Psalm 64:2-3. A hymn, O God, becometh Thee in Sion, and a vow shall be paid to Thee in Jerusalem: O Lord, hear my prayer; all flesh shall come unto Thee. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord: and let perpetual light shine upon them.
The Collect for the Day of Burial says this:
Deus, cui proprium est misereri semper et parcere, te supplices exoramus pro anima famulæ tuæ N. quam hodie de hoc sæculo migrare jusisti: ut non tradas eam in manus inimici, neque obliviscaris in finem, sed jubeas eam a sanctis Angelis suscipi, et ad Patriam paradise perduci: ut, quia in te speravit et crededit, non pœnas inferni sustineat, sed gaudia æterna possideat. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum christum Filium tuuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum.

O God, whose property is ever to have mercy and to spare, we humbly entreat Thee on behalf of the soul of thy servant N., whom Thou hast bidden this day to pass out of this world: that Thou wouldst not deliver her into the hands of the enemy nor forget her for ever, but command her to be taken up by the holy Angels, and to be borne to our home in paradise, that as she had put her faith and hope in Thee she may not undergo the pains of hell but may possess everlasting joys. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reighneth with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost God, world without end.
Then at the end, in place of the Last Gospel, the Absolution is said, there is this:
Non intres in judicium cum servo tuo, Domine, quia nullus apud te justificabitur homo, nisi per te omnium peccatoru ei tribuatur remissio. Non ergo eum, quæsumus, tua judicialis sententia premat, quem tibi vera supplicatio fidei christianæ commendat: sed, gratia tua illi succurrente, mereatur, evadere judicium ultionis, qui dum viveret, insgnitus est signaculo sanctæ Trinitatis: Qui vivis et regnas in sæcula sæculorum.

Enter not into judgment with Thy servant, O Lord; for, save Thou grant him forgiveness of all his sins, no man shall be justified in Thy sight. Wherefore suffer not, we beseech Thee, the sentence Thou pronouncest in judgment upon one whom the faithful prayer of Christina people commends to Thee, to be a doom which shall crush him utterly. Rather succour him by Thy gracious favor, that he may escape Thine avenging justice who, in his lifetime, was signed with the seal of the holy trinity: Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.
It's hard not to miss the seriousness of the moment, a soul passing from this earthly life to meet his Maker. There is an acknowledgment of our utter helplessness before the judgment seat of Christ, and yet a reliance on the mercy of Christ through his Passion and Death. In the Dies Iræ, there is a reminder of the terror and awe that we will experience in the presence of God, but also a reminder of the pity and mercy that is always freely given by the Cross and Suffering of Christ. The Sequence pleads that Christ remember his saving acts of old, his acts of mercy, and that they be also applied to the person who has just passed.

A week ago, we said the Mass for the Day of Burial for a parishioner whose funeral Mass was in another town far away. So we've already experienced a Requiem Mass. Tomorrow will be the first time in forty years with a body and a grieving family. Thankfully, the black vestments were not thrown away. The chasuble is so beautiful that for years it was in a display case....kind of like faith behind glass, a relic from another time. Relic no more.

5 comments:

DimBulb said...

Thankfully, the black vestments were not thrown away. The chasuble is so beautiful that for years it was in a display case....kind of like faith behind glass, a relic from another time. Relic no more.

There are some relics that should be thrown away:
http://www.amazon.com/Catholicism-Study-Completely-Revised-Updated/dp/0060654058

Argent said...

hahahahahahahaha!

What, are you consigning Dick McBrien to the dustbin of history?

How heartless of you.

Mark in Spokane said...

I have always found the black vestments to be beautiful and meaningful. Every funeral I have ever been to has been somber and mournful. The idea that we should try to deny this by focusing on happy things like the resurrection always seemed less than helpful. Yes, we hope in the resurrection, we embrace Christ's promise of eternal life to the faithful, but we also are sad and mournful and weeping and feeling the full cost of human sinfulness. At such a moment, black vestments are not only fitting, they are truthful and help us to express our grief.

Argent said...

You know what's really powerful? The black-draped coffin with its feet facing the altar with the crucifix hanging down....there's a symmetry there. And then when the priest celebrates the Mass in his black vestments, especially if he's facing ad orientem, lifts the Host, you come to understand the cost of our salvation, the victory that is won, but also that our sorrow, though real and sharp and painful, death is not the final word. But we must pray for the soul just passed, for their purgation that they might finally enjoy the peace and happiness of the beatific vision.

And then at the very end, when the coffin is being rolled out of the church, the In Paradisum chant is beyond words, really.

Brian Michael Page said...

I haven't done an EF requiem in eight years. The one time I ever had to play one (it was high Mass - I was a one voice schola), I was ready to get a hold of this guy Jack, who had helped me through my first Christmas and Palm Sunday in EF. Guess what: it was Jack's funeral.

Didn't turn out so bad. :)
Hope the one you did went well.
BMP