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The Memory of Our Dead

The Memory of Our Dead

Regular price $28.79
  • ISBN-13: 9781492756804
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Release Date: Sep 18, 2013
  • Pages: 254 pages
  • Dimensions: 0.58 x 9.00 x 6.00 inches


This work begins; “Are we in any way remiss in discharging our duty to the dead-I speak more especially of those who have fallen in this terrible war? The debt which we owe them is so immeasurably great. To many of us it must come home as a sort of reproach that they have given their lives in all the vigour and promise of youth in order that we, the superannuated or useless ones, may end our days in peace. Surely the least we can do in return is to secure for them that measure of relief which earnest prayers and alms-deeds can bestow. Our forefathers in ages past set a wonderful example in this matter by their generosity even to those who had no special claim to remembrance beyond the ties of kinship and neighbourly intercourse. Ought we to be indifferent when every motive of gratitude for service rendered, of pity for the victims of untimely fate, of admiration for splendid courage and unselfish patriotism, constrains us to mark our appreciation of a sacrifice, of which, collectively regarded, the world has never seen the equal? It is as the result of some such train of reflection as this that I am led to gather together here some desultory chapters upon the practices observed in past ages to do honour to the dead, and to provide for the relief of their souls. The matter, it is true, is not new. The devotion of our forefathers in this connection has long been a favourite subject of research for students of antiquity. The older charitable endowments throughout the land, the colleges at our Universities, the chantries and memorial chapels in our great cathedrals have all helped to bring the topic home to the minds of even the least observant. But we are not all archaeologists, and there are certain aspects of the question which do not ordinarily come in the way either of the general reader or of those whose interest in the subject is mainly devotional. In these more secluded bypaths there is matter of interest and often of edification. Incomplete as these sketches are, they may perhaps help to direct attention to the varied aspects of a subject to which no Catholic, and indeed no religious-minded man, can at the present time be wholly indifferent.” Further on we read: “Or to take another extract in a more satirical vein, Sir Thomas More represents the Holy Souls as lamenting thus: Would to God we had done ourselves as we now counsel you, and God give you the grace, which many of us refused, to make better provision while ye live than many of us have done. For much have we left in our executors' hands, which, would to God, we had bestowed upon poor folk for our own souls and our friends' with our hands. Much have many of us bestowed upon rich men in gold rings and black gowns, much in many tapers and torches, much in worldly pomp and high solemn ceremonies about our funerals, whereof the brittle glory standeth us here, God wot, in very little stead, but hath on the other side done us great displeasure. For albeit the kind solicitude and loving diligence of the quick, used about the burying of the dead, is well allowed and approved before the face of God, yet much superfluous charge used for boast and ostentation, namely devised by the dead before his death, is of God greatly misliked and most especially the kind and fashion thereof wherein some of us have fallen and many besides us that now lie damned in hell. For some were there of us, while we were in health, who not so much studied how we might die penitent and in good Christian plight as how we might be solemnly borne out to burying, have gay and goodly funerals, with heralds at our hearses and offering up our helmets, setting up our escutcheon and coat armour on thewall, though there never came harness on our backs nor ever ancestor of ours ever bare arms before. ...”

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