For the next few posts, I’d like to zero in on a few noteworthy aspects of the liturgy of the funeral vigil. I debated about excluding these–hence my silence on funerals the past few days. The introductory rites include four elements: the greeting (69), the opening song (70), the invitation to prayer (71), and the opening prayer (72).
The four options for the greeting are notable as among the best examples of ICEL’s work in the 80’s. They are simple, and each alludes to Scripture:
A May the God of hope give you the fullness of peace, and may the Lord of life always be with you.
B The grace and peace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
C The grace and peace of God our Father, who raised Jesus from the dead, be always with you.
D May the Father of mercies, the God of all consolation, be with you.
The fourth option, from 2 Corinthians is my favorite. They all lack fuss and are respectful to the liturgy and the principle of progressive solemnity in a way that Liturgiam Authenticam and its product are not.
OCF 72 gives two options for the opening prayer. The first is quite powerful:
Lord our God,
the death of our brother/sister N.
recalls our human condition
and the brevity of our lives on earth.
But for those who believe in your love
death is not the end,
nor does it destroy the bonds
that you forge in our lives.
We share the faith of your Son’s disciples
and the hope of the children of God.
Bring the light of Christ’s resurrection
to this time of testing and pain
as we pray for N. and for those who love him/her,
through Christ our Lord.
Four sentences. A balance between a more directly Latin-derived vocabulary (condition, brevity, disciples) and Middle English sources (forge, pain). This prayer strikes me as more artistic in the balance of words, and more easily sung or proclaimed than MR3 or similar work. The direct appeal to God (Bring!) is in keeping with the audacity of Jewish prayer in the Old Testament, and seems superior to the affected, “Bring, we beg” or some such construction.
The rite also references the 62 prayers of OCF 398-399 that can be used here in place of one of the two given prayers.