During the month of November, when Catholics pray for their deceased relatives and friends, a traditional Catholic activity, which you might like to consider adding to your schedule, is a visit to a Catholic cemetery. At this time of the year, when we are thinking about those who have gone before us, it is good to recall that our beloved dead are in the hands of The Good King as noted in a poem (to follow) by G.K. Chesterton.
But, first to cemetery visits: the following prayer, attributed to St. Gertrude, is often used on such occasions (details of this prayer in link below*):
Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood Of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the Universal Church, those in my own home and within my own family. Amen.
Now, the short poem by G.K. Chesterton which is fitting for this month is called The Skeleton. Thinking of the smiling face of our skeletons, Chesterton wrote this, a very Christian death-themed poem (Christian in that we know that Christ, our King and Redeemer, has conquered death, happily so):
Chattering finch and water-fly
Are not merrier than I;
Here among the flowers I lie
No; I may not tell the best;
Surely, friends, I might have guessed
Death was but the good King’s jest,
It was hid so carefully.
Those few lines give us much to think about it! I like that Christ is referred to as the “good King.” It is heartening to remember that when a loved one dies; to remember that the beloved is in the hands of a “good King.” This Good King is the same king we shall soon be commemorating in Advent and Christmas. Death is swallowed up in victory (Is 25:8) by this King.
Yes, we hope for eternal life from this Good King.
He is Christ the Lord, our Savior.
But for now, I must conclude with the traditional Catholic prayer for our deceased: Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.*
May you have a good day.