ALL SOULS DAY
Isaiah 25:6, 7-9
2 Corinthians 5:1, 6-10
Luke 23: 44-46, 52-53; 24:1-6a
The Church’s prayer for the dead has, for centuries, been crystallized in a single verse drawn from second chapter of the little known Fourth Book of Esdras. Even non-believers know at least the first word of the introit of the Mass of the Dead: Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis. “Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them” (cf. 4 Es 2:35). The word “requiem” has passed from sacred usage into the secular realm, becoming part of the vocabulary of poets and novelists, of dramatists and journalists.
The Requiem Mass has inspired some of the greatest music of Western civilization, beginning with the incomparable Gregorian Requiem and flowering into hundreds of other settings: Berlioz, Brahms, Britten, Duruflé, Fauré, Mozart, Verdi and, in our own day, John Rutter. Each year, during the month of November, I try to listen again to the various settings of the Requiem Mass, allowing their beauty to sink into my