Special Duty of Children – (pg 82 – 85)
Prayer of Blessed James Alberione (to be said daily) – pg. 27
Blessed Souls, YOU are suffering and asking suffrage from me; I am in great danger and need, and I await aid and protection from you. So for this (month or year) I will offer all my prayers and especially all my good works for you. And you in turn remember my needs; deliver me from the dangers I face, and in particular, obtain for me this grace (mention petition). And let the first of you to enter heaven not cease to plead for me before the Divine Mercy until I, too, arrive there. May the Sacred Heart bless this agreement. Amen.
“Whoever honors his father atones for sins, and whoever glorifies his mother is like the one who lays up treasure.” — Sirach 3:3 – 4
Parents, grandparents, and guardians: form kind and merciful hearts in your children and grandchildren. You will have planted the seed of reverence, and in due time this will manifest itself and will assure you of their suffrages. Bring the children to the cemetery, teach them prayers and how to “offer up” little things for the suffering souls. During the July 13, 1917, apparition of Fatima, Our Lady taught this prayer to the children to be said when they would have some sacrifice to offer God:
O my Jesus, it is for love of Thee, in reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for the conversion of poor sinners.
Instruct children to pray and sacrifice for departed loved ones. Instruct them especially by your own example.
Graciously hear, O God, the fervent prayers we offer Thee for the suffering souls in purgatory, who, not having satisfied They justice, confide in Thine infinite mercy and our intercessions. Extend unto them Thy consolations, and redeem them, through Christ Our Lord, Amen.
Eternal rest, grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.
“We reckon Paradise to be our home…There are a great many of those we love waiting for us there—–father, and mother, and brother, and children, there in great company they await us…Oh, when we come to see them and to embrace them, what gladness will it be for us and for them!” —St. Cyprian
End of Day 14 Novena
My extra: I was raised with “offering it up”. If I didn’t hear it from my mother then I heard it from my maternal grandmother, maternal great aunts, aunts, family friends who we called aunt and uncle, definitely at school – the nuns, teachers, and priests, and even by my peers. It was the last generation of learning completely regarding “offering it up”, the Holy Souls, and Purgatory and what a blessing it was to be given this Catholic gem, to pass along down through the future generations. I now even have eighteen sixth graders who know the meaning of “offer it up”, and know what I’m going to say before the words even come out of my mouth! I pray it will be a blessing for them, that they will pass it along to their own families, the future generations in their life, and to the lives they touch as they walk throughout this world.
Along with learning about “offering it up”, I was also raised from an early age with attending viewings of the deceased, followed by attending the mass, and burial. Then on the holidays, visiting the grave-sites of my loved ones. I am one of the few people you will meet who will say that I am not afraid of helping others through their last days, attending viewings, masses and burial, or visiting grave-sites. It brings me a wonderful sense of peace, and it allows me to perform the prayers for the dead that many in this generation are not aware that our deceased need for their souls.
I am very thankful to my parents, who believed we needed to learn about life, the ups and downs, in’s and out’s, the consequences of our actions, and the true realities of life. I’m sure it had to do with their upbringing, and they wanted us to be prepared for adulthood, as I want my children to be prepared for adulthood.
My parents lived through WWII with my father’s father serving in WWII, and the effect it had on his life. My paternal great aunt died of breast cancer. She lived with my paternal grandparents, and when I visited (weekly), it was expected that I would help my grandmother with the changing of the dressings on my great aunt. It was an amazing thing for me as I watched my paternal grandmother change the dressing, deal with the odor (using oil of wintergreen to help mask the offensive odor of untreated cancer, and to realize years later as a nurse I would once again use this oil in the emergency room I worked in. In some ways, I felt I had come full circle), help her get her comfortable, re-dress her draining wounds, change her bed, then feed her. This was a part of life that was true and real, and would help form my character in helping others, comforting the dying, being honest with life because life can be shorter then what we sometimes realize.
I was raised in the last generation, where viewings were still held at the home. Especially the Italians. My godfather’s mother lived with them. She died in her sleep in their home, and her viewing was there. That is the only viewing I ever remember in a home, after that they were always at funeral homes.
My mother’s life was not easy. She lives with scoliosis of the spine, which the doctor’s were never able to properly align, causing my mother to live in pain since her teens. Even after multiple surgeries that were going “to do the trick”. My mother is the epitome of an “offering it up” soul. My maternal grandfather died in his 50′s from lung cancer. It was a very trying time for my mom, she was pregnant with her middle child who was due in July. It was the summer, and her father was nearing the end of his life. My mother was torn, one life was ending, while another was very close to beginning. The death of my maternal grandfather and the birth of my brother was two weeks apart. How devastating this must have been for her……yet my mother’s younger sister was 10 yrs. old when her father died and she was not allowed to see her father in the hospital, nor to say good-bye. To this day she remembers it all so well, that she was never able to say good-bye to her dad.
Due to my parent’s history of their life, led them to teach their children what happens when someone dies. This way, they felt, we would be prepared as adults and know how to handle the situation of death. I agree with my parents and the decision they made regarding their young children at viewings, masses and burials. It was a priceless lesson, and it is one my husband and I have, and are passing onto our children.
As a child, I remember thinking of my father’s family somewhat like The Munsters or The Addams Family (you need to be my age to remember those TV series, lol!). My father’s family had their viewings in the oldest, most architecturally breathtaking home I could remember. We were dressed properly, then taken into the “viewing” room, taught to kneel and pray, taken to the back of the room “to behave”. Once our behavior limit came to it’s end we were taken to the “quiet room or crying room”? I honestly believed it was the playroom, and my cousin’s, brothers, and myself had a blast.
My mother’s side of the family had their funerals at a smaller, plainer facility, but for me a great “playroom”. Very long, loads of chairs to crawl under, lay on, sleep on, and roll a ball down the length of the room. It was a fun room! Till one funeral…., there were so many adults who kept invading our “playroom”, I was becoming annoyed. I walked over to my mother with a purpose in mind! The adults had their own room……….we kids shouldn’t have to give up “OUR PLAYROOM”!
That is the day I learned, after all the years I thought funerals were to have fun at and play with other children, and to honor the dead in a “fun” way. I discovered it was truly for adults to grieve silently, or to speak quietly, and to offer their help to their loved ones or friends. It was also the day I realized, we were being raised in a great way to not fear death, to not fear the death of our loved one’s and friends. How to honor the dead when we attended a “viewing”, and the families who have lost a loved one. What to say, how to act, and how to offer help.
These became valuable lessons for me as a young adult, when my “aunt” lost her brother in a plane crash………..words of “I’m so sorry for your loss”, and a big hug………were all that were needed to be said during her time of grief. My offer of help was whatever she needed……I babysat her younger ones. It is not how “we want to help”. It is “helping” the way they need, not the way we feel they need”. Starting out as a young nurse and aging into nursing, I did my best to make sure no one died alone. I sat with my patients, stroked their hair, held their hands, and spoke with them. I was always devastated when a patient died alone.
As a parent, my parents valuable lessons of honoring the dead, I passed along to my oldest first, and then too my two youngest. When my oldest was five and under, we had many deaths that occurred. She did wonderfully at each and every funeral she attended. My oldest’s paternal grandfather died when she was 2 1/2 years old. She was a special gift to all of us during this time. She was brought to the hospital to say good bye to her Pop-pop. We asked him to “hold on” because my mom was bringing her to the hospital as quickly as possible to say good-bye. I saw my mom pull into the Emergency Room parking lot. I ran down to get our daughter. My husband and I agreed ahead of time, that if anyone was going to cry while our daughter was saying good-bye then they could not be in the room during that time. We wanted this to be a positive experience for our daughter. It was, and I will always be grateful to God for that gift. My father-in-law died as my mother was pulling out of the Emergency Room parking lot. At his viewing my oldest loved “hanging out with her Pop-pop”, she danced all morning, prayed at his casket, and would have intense conversations with him. She would kiss him, sit, watch him, tell him she loved him, and gave him “Bump” her elephant, to keep him company forever. So many times we attempted to talk her out of giving Pop-pop her Bump, but she wouldn’t hear of it. Imagine when she realized “Bump” wasn’t coming back. As I sit and type this, it never dawned on me, to remove “Bump” after she left the viewing with my mother, and before they closed the casket. However, it was an unexpected death, we were all devastated and doing the best we could to get through this very difficult time. We didn’t have our daughter stay through the closing of the casket, mass or burial, because we had no idea how any of us would react due to the unexpected death, and how hard it would hit the adults. Having her at his viewing was the best thing for her, and for the adults there to be able to see the special bond between her and her Pop-pop, and for the smiles she brought to many people’s faces that very sad day.
Visiting cemeteries was a Sunday obligation when I was very young. Again, it was something I loved to do. I loved getting to speak to “the dead”. I enjoyed running through the cemetery, and being in the open fresh air. I made sure I was always properly mannered when I was near another family visiting at their family/friend’s grave-site. By myself, I was free, I was free to run, free to look at the mementoes left at the graves, and imagine…………imagine what the person was like, what they did, how many children they had. If it was a soldier from WWII with a picture, I would stare, and stare, and stare………..wondering what he did before he went into the service, how did he die? Did he know? Was it painful? What did he do in the service, and how did he die? How did the parents feel when the military pulled up in front of their home that day? So many questions went through my mind.
Since our oldest’s first Easter, we drove from grave-site to grave-site to pay our respects, I watched my children pray, run through the cemetery, check out other graves, wonder and ask the same questions I used to ask when I was their age. We still visit the cemetery, not as often as I would like due to life. Now, as I am getting back on my feet, I am praying to again return to visiting before they reach the age of ”teen”.
I feel very blessed that we have been able to pass this gift onto our children, though I’m sure they don’t see it as that, now……However, they are the only one’s between the two families who are aware of all the grave-sites on both sides of the family. What a torch to pass down…………………..
My maternal aunt had taken a genealogy class a few years ago, and discovered other grave-sites I was not aware of……………my great-great maternal grandparents are buried straight down the path from my husband’s maternal grandparents “family” grave-site, I love it, what an awesome gift to be given from God! What a great discovery! At some point she stopped due to life and how time consuming that hobby can become for anyone. I asked her to please pass the information onto me when she is finished with it, so I will be able to continue searching for my family, and then be able to gift to my children what information I have, and for them to continue the search if they are interested.
Wow, it is astounding to realize one paragraph can bring out so many memories, and have you see how family traditions are so easily passed down from the parents to the children without words even being said………..what a beautiful gift from God!