I know there is some debate amongst Christians as to the appropriateness of praying for the dead, and it is not a debate I wish to enter. At worst, it seems to me that it is ineffective and simply an indication of affection for those of our loved ones who have shuffled off this mortal coil. At best, God, Who is outside of and the Creator of time as we perceive it, hears our prayers and requests for interecession in the same way that He hears our prayers for the living. I hope that He understands my heart and good intentions, but I don’t presume to be well versed enough theologically to speak of this or debate it. That is not what this blog post is about.
But one interesting secondary effect I’ve found when praying for my relatives who have passed on is that it brings them back into my memory. I recall times spent with them...I look at photographs of them with more depth...I mourn anew but also celebrate times past spent with them, and it brings them into my present.
As C.S. Lewis says in Out of the Silent Planet, “A pleasure is full grown only when it is remembered. You are speaking, hman, as if the pleasure were one thing and the memory another. It is all one thing...What you call remembering is the last part of the pleasure, as the crah is the last part of a poem. When you and I met, the meeting was over very shortly, it was nothing. Now it is growing something as we remember it. But still we know very little about it. What it will be as I remember it when I lie down to die, what it makes in me all my days till then - that is the real meeting. The other is only the beginning of it.”
Requiescat in pace...incipit vita nova.
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