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Monday, July 02, 2012

Resquiat in Pacem


September 28, 1947 - July 1, 2012


My father in law, Stephen, finished the race this Sunday, July 1. Rich and I were privileged to be there with him as he passed from this world to the next. It was the first time for either of us to walk with someone all the way from life to death. It was hard. It was humbling. It was beautiful. The only comparison we could come up with was childbirth. We were helping birth a life from the temporal to the eternal.

As of Thursday, there was no doubt in any of our minds that Steve would be gone by the end of the weekend. On Friday, he gathered us and the children to him to make sure he could say his goodbyes and we all were able to tell him that we loved him. On Saturday, he called his wife to him to tell her how much he loved her and that he thought it was his day to leave. Alexander sat vigil with me during the day on Saturday, and it was precious to behold. As valuable and sweet as that was, I am still glad he was not there while his grandfather was actively dying. He was in the room with Rich and Steve and I and I pulled out my prayer book for us to pray the litany of the dying. My sweet son grabbed hold of that book and prayed it with me as fervently as I've ever seen him pray.

A Commendatory Prayer for a Sick Person at the point of Departure

O ALMIGHTY God, with whom do live the spirits of just men made perfect, after they are delivered from their earthly prisons; We humbly commend the soul of this thy servant, our dear brother, into thy hands, as into the hands of a faithful Creator, and most merciful Saviour; beseeching thee, that it may be precious in thy sight. Wash it, we pray thee, in the blood of that immaculate Lamb, that was slain to take away the sins of the world; that whatsoever defilements it may have contracted, through the lusts of the flesh or the wiles of Satan, being purged and done away, it may be presented pure and without spot before thee; through the merits of Jesus Christ thine only Son our Lord. Amen.

LITANY FOR THE DYING.

O GOD the Father;
Have mercy upon the soul of thy servant.
O God the Son;
Have mercy upon the soul of thy servant.
O God the Holy Ghost;
Have mercy upon the soul of thy servant.
O holy Trinity, one God;
Have mercy upon the soul of thy servant.

From all evil, from all sin, from all tribulation;
Good Lord, deliver him.
By thy holy Incarnation, by thy Cross and Passion, by thy precious Death and Burial;
Good Lord, deliver him.
By thy glorious Resurrection and Ascension, and by the coming of the Holy Ghost;
Good Lord, deliver him.

We sinners do beseech thee to hear us, O Lord God;
That it may please thee to deliver the soul of thy servant from the power of the evil one, and from eternal death;
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.
That it may please thee mercifully to pardon all his sins.
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.
That it may please thee to grant him a place of refreshment and everlasting blessedness;
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.
That it may please thee to give him joy and gladness in thy kingdom, with thy saints in light;
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

O Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world;
Have mercy upon him.
O Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world;
Have mercy upon him.
O Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world;
Grant him thy peace.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

OUR Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. Amen.

Let us pray.

O SOVEREIGN Lord, who desirest not the death of a sinner; We beseech thee to loose the spirit of this thy servant from every bond, and set him free from all evil; that he may rest with all thy saints in the eternal habitations; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

All night long, Rich and I held vigil with Steve along with a childhood friend of his. We told funny stories, laughed, prayed, sang, cried. We cheered him on, as we knew he was so close to that finish line. We held Steve and cared for him as his body held on to life and as life passed from him. It was the first all nighter I have had since college. We let Steve's friend take a rest at around 4:30 a.m., and Rich tried to let me sleep a little at around 5:30, but I couldn't. So, we each took turns not really sleeping and got about 20 minutes or so while the other kept watch. Steve gave me his last smile. Rich said something that made me laugh, and Steve turned toward me and just beamed. We prayed for his death to be peaceful and quiet and, at the end, it was. He was at peace with God and with his family. I was sending an e-mail to a priest we are friends with to ask him to pray as Steve was at that moment passing from this life to the next and two minutes later, Rich, who had been nodding off at his father's bedside jerked awake and told me that he thought his father was gone. We checked, and he was, so we called his mother and friend into the room. I would not have traded the experience for the world. I just wish it hadn't come so soon.

In the morning, we looked up the lectionary readings for the day and found that all of the readings had to do with God's desire for us to live and conquering death so that we might rise with Him. It was heartening to look at the first reading and find these words from Wisdom 1:13 - 14 and 2:23

"God did not make death,
nor does He rejoice in the destruction of the living.
For He fashioned all things that they might have being...

For God formed man to be imperishable;
the image of His own nature He made him."

When Steve died, Rich took up the prayer book to pray the commendation for the soul departing and for the soul which has departed.

DEPART, O Christian soul, out of this world,
In the Name of God the Father Almighty who created thee.
In the Name of Jesus Christ who redeemed thee.
In the Name of the Holy Ghost who sanctifieth thee.
May thy rest be this day in peace, and thy dwellingplace in the Paradise of God.

A Commendatory Prayer when the Soul is Departed.

INTO thy hands, O merciful Saviour, we commend the soul of thy servant, now departed from the body. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech thee, a sheep of thine own fold, a lamb of thine own flock, a sinner of thine own redeeming. Receive him into the arms of thy mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light. Amen.

Steve held on through July as a final act of love to his wife, so that she could be better taken care of here. We are so thankful for hospice and that he was able to take his final days at home with his family there. His battle with cancer was only 34 days. Though we are grieving the loss of a beloved father, grandpa, husband, brother and friend, we rejoice that he has run into the arms of his Lord and we know God rushed to embrace this son of His, who finished strong. May his memory be eternal!



In paradisum deducant te Angeli; in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres, et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Ierusalem. Chorus angelorum te suscipiat, et cum Lazaro quondam paupere æternam habeas requiem.

May angels lead you into paradise; upon your arrival, may the martyrs receive you and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem. May the ranks of angels receive you, and with Lazarus, the poor man, may you have eternal rest

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Comments:
My prayers for you all. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.
 
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