04 March 2008

Reading the Psalms at the funeral home

My son has introduced me to the Orthodox custom of reading the Psalter near the body of the departed. So far we've gotten through about a third of it; I hope to go today to complete the task.

What a wonderful tradition this is! It accomplishes great things in the mind, the heart, and the emotions:

1. The Psalter goes through the whole range of human emotion, giving words to feelings too difficult and deep to understand.
2. The Psalter helps the mind to see death in its proper context, the whole history of salvation: God's creation and preservation, our stumbling and fall, and God's provision of salvation in Christ.
3. The Psalter helps to orient the heart toward the Holy Trinity, and to connect the deepest of sorrow with the richest of comfort.

3 comments:

orrologion said...

In some Orthodox traditions, the Psalter is also ready continuously over the tomb on Great and Holy Saturday, for obvious reasons. The Acts are also read for part of the same time period, but I always forget which is read overnight from Friday to Liturgy on Saturday morning and which is read from Liturgy until the Midnight Office - I think it is Acts from Friday and the Psalter after Liturgy.

Rosko said...

The Psalter is indeed the best and most appropriate prayerbook and reading set for any situation. I am glad to see you blogging and hope that I can remember to check your blog regularly.

Harry Reineke

dershnork said...

Dear Fr.,
I just happened to come by this blog and read about the passing of your dad.
Please accept the loving condolences of the Souin family.
He along with you and your family will be in our prayers.
I pray that God illuminate and grant him rest in the abode of the just where Enoch and Elijah live in dove-like purity.
Our love, the Souins