The Commemoration of the Dead

The power and action of prayer for the souls of the departed is even greater than prayer for the living. There is no greater comfort than prayer and no greater joy than joy in the Lord for those who are separated from their bodies. It is unjust, as some think, to assume that the needs of our departed brethren are unknown to us. However, this is not true. The spiritual needs of the dead are the same as the spiritual needs of the living. The dead need the mercy and goodness of the Heavenly Father, forgiveness and remission of sins, grace-filled help from God in the fulfillment of all good desires, and the peace and ease of the heart and conscience. These things are most important both for the living and the dead. Give rest, O Lord, to the souls of Thy departed servants is the continual prayer and best intention of our Mother Church for the souls of Her departed. We should also beseech the Lord with this intention for the departed souls of our own loved ones.

Hieromartyr John of Riga

The dead indeed cannot repent.

A lot of holy literature is reported in this article, about that verse of Psalm 6; but…. may I humbly suggest to add the edifying words of the Holy Fathers about what our Lord said too?

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.”

Perhaps the absolute sovereignty of God is left out in that article; indeed, what is impossible for men, it’s possible for God. Perhaps the dead are not able to remind God anymore, but the Lord can surely remind them. The Lord commanded to be baptized to be saved, yet the first to be saved was not. When mercy is involved, the Lord is not bound by anything, not even His Statutes.

In fact, I think that it would be an act of mercy to always end articles stating (correctly) the impossibility for the dead to repent, with a reminder that their fate is anyway not sealed. Otherwise, it would be much appreciated if they’d explain us why to pray for the dead at all.

The eternity is for the age to come. Until then prayers, almsgiving and good deeds made on their behalf by the living act as fruit of repentance for the dead (St. John of Riga, St. Teophane the Recluse, St. Gregory the Dialogist, St. Joseph the Hesycast and many others affirm this).

Only one fate is sealed, in this age and in the age to come: the fate of the blasphemers against the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth.

The dead cannot do anything without the living, just like the living cannot do anything without the Lord.

Missing this reminder, the danger is great for the little ones, above all for those who have come lately to the Church and have all their dear ones departed outside the Grace of His Body. It’s a danger of despair or a danger of falling in comforting lies like the apocatastasis and the various eclectic delusions which abound out there.

Nel giorno in cui la Tua Chiesa ricorda alla Tua misericordia i suoi figli, o Signore, oso ricordarTi anche tutti coloro che son dipartiti da questo mondo lontani dalla Tua Grazia, privati dei salvifici misteri del Tuo Corpo, e magari con terribili peccati a gravare la loro coscienza, non riconosciuti, ne’ confessati.

Nel Tuo buon piacere, Signore, nella Tua infinita bonta’ e misericordia, nella Tua assoluta sovranita’, ricordati ti prego anche di loro e abbi misericordia. Tu che ti sei degnato di prendere la nostra stessa carne e conosci fino in fondo la nostra miseria e debolezza, Tu che hai voluto subire fino in fondo la nostra iniquita’ solo per restituirci una speranza di salvezza, Tu che hai camminato e sofferto nell’inganno che domina interamente questo mondo, considera che in quello stesso inganno loro nacquero, da quell’inganno furono cresciuti ed in quell’inganno son morti, ed abbi misericordia di loro.

Signore di ogni misericordia, Tu che chiedesti misericordia perfino per chi ti stava inchiodando alla Croce, ricordati ti prego anche di loro ed abbi misericordia. Nega al Maligno, o Signore, il bottino che pensa di aver cosi’ indegnamente guadagnato, concedigli come compagni nel fato di distruzione che si e’ scelto solo coloro che lo hanno servito consapevolmente, i bestemmiatori dello Spirito Santo. A tutti gli altri, o Signore ti prego, degnati di concedere, nei tempi e nei modi che solo Tu conosci, la tua parola di salvezza.

Non per la preghiera di un miserabile, o Signore, ma per l’intercessione della Tua purissima Madre e di tutti i Tuoi santi. Amen!


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