OCF 218: Prayer over the Place of Committal

The rite gives three options for the Prayer over the Place of Committal: one if the place is to be blessed, one if it has already been blessed, and one when the final disposition is to take place at a later time. Four additional options are given in OCF 405, all for use when the place of committal has not been blessed. “Similar word” options are not given here. Why? Clearly the Church is keeping a closer watch over the texts used here and wants to ensure the rite itself (as opposed to the introductions) communicates and celebrates what the Church envisions.

The straightforward option A addresses Christ, as the place of committal is blessed:

Lord Jesus Christ,
by your own three days in the tomb,
you hallowed the graves of all who believe in you
and so made the grave a sign of hope
that promises resurrection
even as it claims our mortal bodies.

Grant that our brother/sister until you awaken him/her to glory,
for you are the resurrection and the life.
Then he/she will see you face to face
and in your light will see light
and know the splendor of God,
for you live and reign for ever and ever.

For translation geeks, a comparison with the first edition can be illustrative. Above “hallowed” replaced “made holy;” and lines four through six replaced a simpler, “and even though their bodies lie in the earth, they trust that they, like you, will rise again.” The Scriptural quote “in your light will see light” is more directly dependent on Psalm 36 than the earlier edition. Comparing the texts of the 1989 OCF with the 1969/1972 edition will reveal more upgrades–just note the small numbers in your second edition margin to compare to the first edition text.

Let’s get back to the two original compositions of OCF 218, the first when the place of committal has already been blessed. Option B incorporates a litany of praise:

All praise to you, Lord of all creation.
Praise to you, holy and living God.
We praise and bless you for your mercy,
we praise and bless you for your kindness.
Blessed is the Lord our God.
R. Blessed is the Lord our God.

You sanctify the homes of the living
You make holy the places of the dead.
You alone open the gates of righteousness
and lead us to the dwellings of the saints.
Blessed is the Lord our God.
R. Blessed is the Lord our God.

We praise you, our refuge and strength.
We bless you, our God and redeemer.
Your praise is always  in our hearts and on our lips.
We remember the mighty deeds of the covenant.
Blessed is the Lord our God.
R. Blessed is the Lord our God.

Without staring too long, I can pick out allusions or quotes to three different psalms in just the last section: 46, 34, and 51. And a shorter prayer to the Father follows here. It should be pretty clear that by the 1980’s, ICEL was extremely sensitive to the need for the integration of Scripture into the Church’s liturgy.

Option C, when the body’s final disposition takes place later, is brief:

Almighty and ever-living God,
in you we place our trust and hope,
in you the dead, whose bodies were temples of the Spirit, find everlasting peace.

As we take leave of our brother/sister,
give our hearts peace in the firm hope
than one day N. will live
in the mansion you have prepared for him/her in heaven.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Next up, we’ll take a close look at the central ritual of the Rite of Committal. Meanwhile, any comments?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Order of Christian Funerals, post-conciliar liturgy documents, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

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