Phenomenology of the Mass – Part III

Let us compare opening prayers at the Mass of the Dead.

The below exhibits that the EF truly regards everlasting penalty as a real possibility, urgently to be prayed against. It regards the pains of purgatory as urgently requiring our prayers, esp. that of Holy Mass, for the good of the deceased. The OF doe snot mention any penalty for sin, nor does it hint at the possibility of hell.

These two ways of praying call for, and thus beget, two ways of being. The one signaled in black, sober and unknowing about the fate of the deceased. The other signaled in white, quite optimistic about the fate of the deceased. The one imploring our prayers for dire possibilities. The other encouraging us to pray.

The difference is quite stark. How rosy things look in the OF, how light, unbearably light. The unbearable lightness of being. How serious in the EF.

And ironically, how “white not black” they look in the OF; how “grey, under the sign of black” in the EF. Indeed, the EF paints the extremes in black and white, and these are their true colors. But we do not know about this servant. We pray. We hope.

Look at the first Easter prayer of the OF. It is a prayer not for the soul but for us. For us! Indeed, we sometimes hear that the Funeral mass is primarily for the consolation of the pilgrims. NO! It is for the eternal rest of the deceased. And all the more, for the Glory of God!

Different ways of being!

Collect for Day of Burial: “God, for whom it is proper is ever to have mercy and to spare, we humbly beseech Thee on behalf of the soul of Thy servant (handmaid) N…, whom Thou hast this day called out of the world, that Thou wouldst not deliver him (her) into the hands of the enemy, nor forget him (her) forever, but command that he (she) be taken up by Thy holy angels and borne to our home in paradise, that having put his (her) hope and trust in Thee, he (she) may not undergo the pains of hell, but may come to the possession of eternal joys. Through Our Lord….” An OF Collect outside Easter: “O God, almighty Father, our faith professes that your Son died and rose again; mercifully grant, that through this mystery your servant N. who has fallen asleep in Christ, may rejoice to rise again through him. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. 

Or this one: “O God, whose nature is always to forgive and to show mercy, we humbly implore you for your servant N, whom you have called to journey to you, and, since he hoped and believed in you, grant that he may be led to our true homeland to delight in its everlasting joys. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

 

Collect During Easter Season: “Listen kindly to our prayers, O Lord: As our faith in your Son raised from the dead, is deepened, may our hope of resurrection for your departed servant N also find new strength. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy SPirit, one God, for ever and ever.

 

Or: “O God, who through the ending of present things open up the beginning of things to come, grant, we pray, that the soul of your servant N. may be led by you to attain the inheritance of eternal redemption. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.