Friday, November 07, 2014
I am preparing my Remembrance Sunday sermon. It is always a bit trickey, there is no option to offer a Requiem Mass for any else but the 'Faithful Departed' in the Missal. So I am manifestly not praying for all those Jews, Muslims, Hindus, agnostics and atheists who died in the great conflicts of the twentieth century.
The rather frightening truth is that we Christians though trusting in the abundant mercy and love of God actually know little about the fate of the unbaptised or those who were not faithful, and it isn't our tradition to pray aimlessly. There is no prayer for all the dead as a lumpen mass in our Tradition, some priests might do a bit of tweaking or intellectual/spiritual gymnastics. We can speculate that after death those of goodwill might embrace faith in Jesus Christ, or we can speculate that a commitment to or belief in 'goodness' might be the equivalent to being one of the faithful departed, or even come out with an an 'anonymous Christian' theory a la Rahner but this isn't what the prayers say, and though it is comforting, it is a bit like Limbo, it is speculation or a clever idea.
To be numbered amongst the 'faithful departed', would seem to suggest not merely being 'departed' but actually having had faith, and having lived or at least having died in it.
Posted by Fr Ray Blake