Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Requiem Æternam
Have I Forgotten the Holy Souls?

I've certainly done my part - work wise. 
We have a list and I check it more than twice.  Sending personal letters to those families bereaved in the past year; inviting them to the All Souls Mass.  Double check details.  Go over the list again to let those reading the names of the deceased know the proper pronunciations - to the best of my ability.  And sometimes I don't know and with other names the readers don't understand the simple standard pronunciation symbols.  And we anguish that someone will be offended; or worse, we exacerbate their hurt.  And, for the same reasons, we anguish over the correct spelling of all the names that go in the bulletin. 

And praying as I'm working I start to notice my prayer changes from an "Eternal rest..." for the soul of each person as I type his name.  It becomes more of, "Please, God, don't let me screw up.  Really.  Please."  And I notice that my worry over screwing up is not so much for the sake of the bereaved but for the sake of maintaining a certain level of high performance.  There are screw ups anyway.  I don't believe any souls have been lost and I have been the one who has suffered the most from my gaffs.  Not even so much suffered, as had some sharp ego points gently polished.

One year there was a woman who received a letter in which I had left the name of the deceased from a previous letter.  She sent it back with a polite "I think there's been a mistake," written on the letter.  With a smiley face - the universal woman's symbol for I'm not Angry/Please Don't Be Angry.  And I wrote back my profuse apology.  The most I could hope was that she was encouraged to find she was dealing with a 'real' person, not just a computer.

Another year an elderly couple called about the letter.  I had to remind them that they had put a distant relative on the list of prayers for the deceased many months back.  "Oh, that Joseph!"

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace. Amen.
So I toil over the list.  And I should pray for these souls.  Even though I cannot get to the Mass this year, there should already have been some prayers included in the work.   And sitting here tonight I wonder if this has become such an easy, pro forma operation for me that I forget why I am doing it.   And I pray an Eternal Rest and also ask the Lord to help me...refocus. 

No comments:

St. Isidore Foundation

I cannot live under pressures from patrons, let alone paint.
-- Michelangelo, quoted in Vasari's Lives of the Artists

Meet the Family...
Collect the Action Figures

Yes, three jade ribbons. 15 Years!
(not all the same child)
If you need to ask, you may not wish to know.

Site Meter