Monday, December 21, 2015

Latin Words and Phrases Worth Knowing About: Requiescat in Pace...

The familiar abbreviation RIP stands for the Latin requiescat in pace, "May s/he rest in peace."

Those of us within the "Great Tradition," that is to say, the Churches descended from that Unified Christian Church of the First Millennium, we pray for our dead.

And we pray for them simply that "requiescant in pace" (May they rest in peace).

It is true that the Western Church has a developed Theology of the Dead in Purgatory. When Western Christians pray requiescant in pace, they are praying that they be forgiven of their residual sins and leave that Purgatorial State in which they are understood to be cleansed of their sins to prepare them for the Presence of God.

The Eastern Church does not have such a developed Theology of the Dead. We pray for the Dead and leave it at that. 

I personally, although I am a Communicant Member of the Eastern Church, find comfort in the Western Formulation. As a result of my many sins, if I wake up on the morning following my death, to find myself in Catholic Purgatory, I will breathe an enormous sigh of relief.

This day, six US soldiers were killed in Afghanistan. I pray for the repose of their souls. Requiescant in pace.


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