Preface IV for the Dead

For more information on prefaces in general, see The Eucharistic Prayer (2) and The Eucharistic Prayer (3)

This preface is used in Masses for the dead, such as funerals, anniversaries of death, and All Soul’s Day.

From earthly life to heavenly glory

This preface retraces the steps of a believer who perseveres in the faith from here to eternity. As Preface I for the Dead reminded us, upon death life is changed, not ended, for those who have faith in Christ.

“For it is at your summons that we come to birth, …”

The Lord not only called us into existence by creating us, he also called us to repentance and faith, receiving baptism so that we would be born anew in water and the spirit and be able to see the kingdom of God (see John 3:5).

“…by your will that we are governed, …”

Whether we submit to the Lord’s will or not, He is in charge, and has arranged everything in his Providence to help us achieve the greatest, lasting good if we unite our plans to his and live the lifestyle he revealed to us in his Son.

“…and at your command that we return, on account of sin, to that earth from which we came.”

The consequence of sin is death, returning to the dust from which we were created (see Genesis 3:17-19). If that seems unfair we must remember, in the light of the Redemption, that not even Our Lord, upon assuming human nature, was spared physical death, because death was a consequence of original sin, not just our sins.

“And when you give the sign, we who have been redeemed by the Death of your Son, shall be raised up to the glory of his Resurrection.”

Our Lord was sinless, yet, due to sin, he submitted to death and conquered it once and for all, paving the way for us to conquer it as well in him. We know, in faith, that at the moment of our physical death we’ll appear before Our Lord and be judged, but that moment of particular judgment is not the definitive end. When Our Lord returns in glory (the Second Coming) all the dead will be raised, and the joy of Heaven that we experienced in spirit will also be experienced bodily forever.

Death is not the last word. Eternity is. Let’s make our life, and our death, the antechamber to Heavenly glory, just as Our Lord did.

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