All souls day: Remembering and honouring the forgotten ones

 

By Charlene Ogu

Today we celebrate all souls day, a day when we remember those who have past and pray for their passage into heaven.

For some of us today is a difficult one, we remember loved ones we miss and mourn with those who are in need of comfort, closure and/or healing.

For a good portion of us it’s a day to bring to mind those we maybe don’t think about too often. The distance relatives, the friend of friend, the ancestors.

And this got me thinking about the movie The Great Gatsby, SPOLIERS! Don’t say I didn’t warn you. If you haven’t read the book, or watched the movie spoilers ahead!

The final scene of the movie is the funeral of Gatsby, known by hundreds for his lavish parties, lying in a coffin with the company of only one friend.

 
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I remember watching it and feeling so sad for this person who was surrounded by fabulous people for much of his life but when he needed them most he was alone.

Today is a beautiful day because we get to remember some of those people we encountered briefly or heard of, or those completely unknown to us. And we get to remember them not with compliments but with prayers. Prayers which are tangible and real imploring on behalf of the soul of another. There like flowers, beautiful and full of meaning.

Throughout the Great Gatsby book, flowers are used to define the characters and their relationships. This line in the final scene of the movie where not even Gatsby’s great love has shown up for his funeral is devastating.

‘I rang, I wrote, I implored... but not a single one of the sparkling hundreds that enjoyed his hospitality attended the funeral. And from Daisy not even a flower.’

Let’s do the most important thing we can do for those who are no longer with us, remember and honour them with a prayer.

Merciful Father,

On this day, we are called to remember those who have died,
Particularly those who have died in the past year,
And pray for their joyful reunion with you, their loving creator.
As your son taught us to call the stranger 
neighbor, our fallen are many—

Names we will never know,
Voices we have never heard,
In lands we may never visit,
Yet brothers and sisters all.
And so we pray.

For victims of war, caught in the crossfires of
conflicts we could not quell,
for soldiersand civilians,
adults and children, we pray …
Grant eternal rest, O Lord.

For those migrants who have died seeking a
haven where they hoped to find safety
and opportunity for themselves and for their families, we pray …
Grant eternal rest, O Lord.

For victims of hunger, denied their share in the
bounty you have placed before us, we pray …
Grant eternal rest, O Lord.

For victims of AIDS, Malaria, Ebola, and other infectious diseases,
who died before adequate care could reach them, we pray …
Grant eternal rest, O Lord.

For those refugees seeking asylum from war,
who died in a land that was not their home, we pray …
Grant eternal rest, O Lord.

For victims of emergencies and calamities everywhere,
who died amid chaos and confusion, we pray …
Grant eternal rest, O Lord.

Lord, as you command, we reach out to the fallen.
We call on you on behalf of those we could not reach this year.
You raised your son from the dead
that all may share in his joyful resurrection.

In Jesus' name, we pray …

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine,
Et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Requiescant in pace.


Amen

Prayer by Genevieve Jordan Laskey found at CRS/All Souls Day Prayer

 
Charlene Ogu