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.The Collect for the Day of Burial says this:
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.
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.Then at the end, in place of the Last Gospel, the Absolution is said, there is this:
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.
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.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.
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.
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.