A Beautiful Departure
One of our long-time community members died quite peacefully and happily this past week. She was 97 and extraordinarily full of life! We always observe a vigil 24 hours prior to the funeral service and burial, during which the Divine Office moves from whatever season we may be in, to the Office of the Dead. It was amazing! The use of “major modes” was everywhere — the psalms hopeful and full of praise for God’s mercy and grace — such joy for the believer’s return to Heaven.
At the funeral Eucharist, we closed with the exquisite “In Paradisum” chant. That chant moved me to tears as we told our friend good-bye until we see her again in Heaven.
I guess what was really on my mind and heart is that again, here was chant at such a crucial point in life — the time to return home to God. And, such a simple and beautiful chant — a “send-off” to Paradise”. This is one of the truest beauties of chant: helping us to keep our wonderment and awe of God’s love at such turning points in our lives!
“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 the angels lead you into paradise; and when you arrive, may the martyrs receive you and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem. May the ranks of angels receive you, and along with Lazarus, once a poor man, may you have eternal rest.