Death for a Christian is a bittersweet event. On the one hand, we are supposed to rejoice since the person that died has entered eternal life with God, the aim and culmination of our earthly pilgrimage. Our faith gives us this hope. But, more realistically, what we experience is that we do not want to let go of our loved one who died and left us with sadness, grief and sometimes crushing pain.
Death is on the home page of our daily newspaper every day. As of yesterday, 1,159, 397 people around the world have died from the coronavirus. How many people out there are carrying grief and sadness in their hearts as a result, silently perhaps?
November is a month of prayer for those who died. It’s a month where we turn to God in prayer for our loved ones, whether our loss is more immediate or whether we are simply commemorating special anniversaries.
Our team at Novalis has worked hard to provide a useful resource for this special month of prayer. Praying November: Prayers for Grieving and Remembering Loved Ones is a pocket book designed to help Christians be more in tune with their place in the larger reality of life and death. It includes prayers for those who are dying, prayers for those who died, prayers from the saints, prayers to Mary, prayers when grieving different types of death such as a death of a spouse or a child, miscarriage, suicide, national tragedy and more. There are prayers for special days of commemoration such as All Saints Day (Nov 1), All Souls Day (Nov 2) and Remembrance Day (Nov 11). The book also includes relevant psalms and biblical verses that can give us the hope that we need to sustain us in our difficult times.
Praying November allows you to personalize your prayer journey. It includes an In Memoriam page where you can list your loved ones as you keep them close in your heart during prayer. It also includes journaling pages where you can write down special memories or your own prayer.
One of my favourite prayers in the book comes from Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross:
Lord, Bless All People
Lord, bless all who are filled with sadness.
Bless the broken spirits of those who suffer,
the oppressive solitude of the lonely people,
the person who knows no rest,
the suffering that we confide to no one.
Bless the procession
of night owls
that do not fear the specter
of unknown roads.
Bless the sufferings of those
who are dying this day.
Dear God, give them
a good death.
Bless hearts, Lord,
hearts that are bitter.
comfort the sick,
teach forgetfulness to those
who have lost the one they love most.
Leave no one on the whole earth
Bless those who are full of joy,
and protect them, Lord.
So far, you have never
delivered me from sadness.
It sometimes weighs heavily on me,
but you give me your strength
and so I can bear it.
You can now find and purchase Praying November: Prayers for Grieving and Remembering Loved Ones here.
May God bless your special month of prayer!
–Natalia Kononenko, Editor, Living with Christ, Novalis Publishing