Sunday of Departed Faithful – Feb 20, 2022 I (Aneede Sunday) I Their Birthday into Eternity

Published by Jacob P Varghese on

 

They who served and died in hope
Trusting in Thy mercy, Lord;
May Thy living voice them raise
From their graves to paradise

Tomorrow, Sunday the 20th February 2022, is the day of remembrance and prayer for all the Faithful Departed. According to our liturgical calendar, our Church commemorates all the departed faithful in the Divine Holy Liturgy on the ‘Aneede’ Sunday (hadbšabo d anidé). We remember all our near and dear ones, who were one day with us here on earth and then they joined the rest of the people of heaven. Today, the Church has special prayer for the departed, to grant them absolution leaving them to the mercy of God, Who know the innermost.

“Let us help and commemorate them. If Job’s sons were purified by their father’s sacrifice [Job 1: 5), why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them”. St John Chrysostom teaches us about praying for the departed ones: “Let us then give them aid and perform commemoration for them. For if the children of Job were purged by the sacrifice of their father, why do you doubt that when we too offer for the departed, some consolation arises to them”?

Before entering into the Great Lent, it is germane and fitting to remember our departed, those who feed the spiritual sustenance to our life. (Heb. 13: 7) They nurtured and demonstrated the eminence of our spiritual lives. …… For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day” (John 6: 40). Our prayers offered during the Holy Qurbana is asking God to forgive their shortcomings, on their behalf.  Our Lord is Lord of living people. “Now about the dead rising—have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Mk. 12: 26, 27).

St. Paul teaches: “Neither death, nor life…nor height, nor depth…shall be able to separate us from the love of God… For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord; whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living” (Rom. 8: 38-39; Rom. 14: 8-9). For this reason, it is not only possible, but even necessary, to pray for the dead as well as for the living; for, according to the words of the Saviour, to God all are alive (cf. Lk. 20: 38).

Let us enter into the Great Lent with prayers to our departed near and dear ones seated in the ‘bosom of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’. An ancient story teaches a good lesson. Once St. Makarios of Egypt found a human skull while walking in the desert. When Abba Makarios touched the skull with a palm branch, a voice came from the skull. When the elder asked, “Who are you?” the skull answered, “I was a pagan priest and lived in this place. Abba Makarios, have pity on us who are in eternal torment, and pray for us, for your prayer brings us comfort.” The elder asked, “What comfort comes to you from my prayers?” The skull answered, “When you pray for us, light appears, and we begin to see one another.”  

Prayer possesses the power of grace. It knows no boundaries and does not grow weaker with distance. Our prayers are the result of love, and, like a ray of light, it penetrates men’s souls, uniting those who pray with God and with one another. Let us pray for our beloved departed, before we enter into the Great Lent and remember the passion and glorious resurrection of our Lord. Prayer joins our world with another world, where the angels, the saints and our departed relatives and friends’ dwell.

Orthodox Christians follow our Holy Tradition and practice of remembering the departed in their personal prayers as well as in the divine services throughout the Church year. We, believe that it brings much comfort to their souls. When we appeal to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to show mercy to them that He indeed comforts them and bestows His peace on them.

It is our duty and responsibility to remember their loved ones in their prayers and to give the names to our parish priest to include them in the Divine Liturgy on Sundays and visit the graves of our loved ones and offer prayers of incense. When family members and priest are praying together at the grave not only it brings comfort to the soul of the departed but it also brings comfort to those present. We are also reminded that death is inevitable and one day we will be there where are our relatives and friends are.

Thine, O Lord, are both the worlds,
Here and there Thy Power extends.
Keep the living by Thy cross,
By Thy Grace absolve the dead.


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