“May his memory be eternal.” “Vichnaya Pamyat.” (in Ukrainian)
Traditional Byzantine Prayer for the Dead

It seems that in this prayer for the dead we are really at the heart of life. Just as we are on Ash Wednesday.

We ask that there be memory: indeed an everlasting one. Perhaps only such memory is really memory in the full sense. My understanding is that the main object of the prayer is that God remember the soul of the departed. Thus this prayer is parallel to the Latin prayer for “Eternal Rest.”

To remember, in the richest sense, is to hold close to one’s heart. Permanently. It seems to me that this lends great meaning to the words written by Isaiah: “Even if a mother could forget, I will never forget you.”

To never be forgotten, ever, is an astounding thing. It makes me want to become a man who remembers. We too can remember; and our memory too can in a sense give life to people.

On Ash Wednesday Christians are exhorted to remember something about ourselves: who we are, and where our life is tending. I wonder if my memory can be more like God’s: everlasting. My remembering, it seems, is something I can offer not only to myself but to those around me. It will take practice, self-discipline, and sacrifice. I will need to begin by setting aside things that hinder memory. Perhaps this Lent I can learn to remember, just as I also want to be remembered.

In a sense, what else is there?

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:

Living with Yourself

“And a virtuous man wishes to live with himself; for he does so with pleasure, since the memories of his past acts are delightful and his hopes for the future are good, and therefore pleasant. His mind is well stored too with subjects of contemplation.” Aristotle,...

read more

Might vs. Valor

Phalinus, messenger from Persian King Artaxerxes, demands that the Persians (who had fought with Cyrus, now dead, against Artaxerxes) put down their arms. Xenophon responds: “Phalinus, at this moment, as you see for yourself, we have no other possessions save arms and...

read more

Bethany Weekends: Spring, Summer Schedule

Socrates insisted on the centrality of examining our lives. The purpose of such examination is clear: we will come closer to being the persons we can be if we accept the challenge of our human identity, of being rational. This is our privilege: to use our reason to...

read more

Pin It on Pinterest