We all experience times of loss within our lives. While death is a part of life, the amount of grief or sorrow we may feel when a friend or loved one passes away can be extremely raw and shocking. A thoughtful memorial prayer or beautifully-worded poem can often help to ease this pain. Not only do kind words celebrate the rich life of those who have passed, they also help the living to heal.
Each religion has their most popular prayers. For example, those of the Catholic faith often pass out small cards at funerals. These cards typically depict a patron saint, and are transcribed with the full name of the deceased as well as a popular prayer for their spool as it transcends into the afterlife. These cards are retained as a keepsake. One popular passage is as follows:
In Loving Memory of You, originally by Debbie Heydrick
Quietly I’m remembering you
in the silence of my heart.
Each thought of you, a treasure
while we are now apart.
At times I’m filled with longing;
Your face I’d love to see,
To feel you, to hear you,
to have you here with me.
But God has a plan; He created you
and numbered all your days.
May God hold you
and surround me with His grace.
With the hope of reunion in the heavens,
I entrust you in His care.
Cherished memories of you live on in my heart.
Your life is a gift we share.
Another important pillar of the Catholic Faith is the Catholic Funeral Prayer, which is a memorial prayer often performed at the funeral mass. It is as follows:
God our Father,
Your power brings us to birth,
Your providence guides us,
and by Your command we turn to dust.
Lord, those who may die still go on in your presence,
their lives may change but do not yet cease.
I pray with hope for my family members,
friends and relatives
and for all the departed known to You.
In company with Jesus Christ,
Who died but now lives,
may they rejoice in the godly kingdom,
where all of our tears are wiped away.
Unite us together in one family,
to sing Your praises forever.
Other religions also subscribe to the importance of a memorial prayer. A prominent poem shared during the funeral service of many Christian religions is titled “When I am Gone.” This particular passage reminds those who are grieving to recall only the best moments in the life of the deceased:
When I come to the end of my journey, and I travel my last weary mile,
Simply forget, if you are able, that I frowned, and remember my the smile.
Forget any unkind words I may have uttered; Remember the good I did,
Forget that I may have had a heartache or two, instead recall I’ve had heaps of fun.
Forget that I have blundered and stumbled, and sometimes even fell.
Remember I fought some difficult battles, and won, when the day closes.
Then please forget to grieve me for departing, I wouldn’t want to see you sad–even for a day.
Those of Jewish faith also carry on the tradition of a memorial prayer or poem. A special memorial prayer called Yizkor is re-counted in the synagogue four times each year, after the reading of the Torah. Translated from Hebrew, Yizkor means “Remember.” While “Remember” is the very first word of the prayer, it also signifies its overall theme. By reciting this, those of Jewish faith ask God to remember the souls of friends and relatives who have passed.