Saturday, November 17, 2007

On Mourning the Dead

There is nothing like a sad song for making a person feel better when they are grieving. The Irish discovered this long ago. So did the monks who wrote some of the classic dirges, once an integral part of the Roman liturgy. In the seventies it became the vogue at funeral masses to focus on the Resurrection and on the hope that the deceased was enjoying the bliss of heaven. This in itself is a good and very Christian approach to death. However, to ignore all sad feelings is not healthy. It is not the realm of the sacred liturgy to annihilate or repress our feelings but to refocus them in the light of faith. The Second Vatican council did not abolish the Dies Irae, the traditional dirge for the deceased; it remains in the Roman breviary, even in the ICEL translation, and is recommended for the Office for the Dead. Share

2 comments:

alaughland said...

Although we humans have ritualized mourning, there are many examples of mourning among mammal groups such as elephants and various primates.

elena maria vidal said...

Yes, it is only natural....