I’ve always wondered, what was the point of going to the cemetery once a year, to pray for the dead? To me it was always a weird ritual. I mean, we’re supposed to pray for our dearly departed, so they can go to heaven, and all that. Then, we are taught that God is not only a merciful one, but he isn’t an idiot who only listens on a specific time, in a specific day of the year right? If you say a little prayer for the dead every now and then, wouldn’t God be listening then as well?
Do we do it then, because we are sentimental? If we were really sentimental, shouldn’t we be putting flowers, lighting candles and saying a little prayer every time we could?
So what was the point to praying for the dead, or in some cultures, to the dead?
Genius as Einstein was, or Ford, or Edison, would they, if brought back to life help solve the greatest challenges of our day? Would they understand what our computers are, or would they seem so small, and yet wonderful?
Perhaps there is something timeless— human nature. Men and women fall in love in the same way right? Whether it was a hundred years ago, or earlier, love is love. Greed was greed. Hate was hate. Anger was anger. Only the background has changed. We’ve learned to fly, to walk the moon, but the foundation remain the same.
Why do we do it then?
Remember the dead.
To live as they did?
To love as they loved?
To strive as they strove?
To learn from their mistakes?
To ground us, remembering where we came?
To honor their memory?
To consecrate their struggle?
To never forget what they did here?
To commune, to ask— Is there life beyond death?
Is there a sense of purpose in death?
Where does the soul go?
Where does consciousness go?
Isn’t it death too— letting the world pass us by. Shunning the world, uncaring whether the gifts we have— the potential of who we are is never used? Without purpose, is that not what death is as well? Or is that merely purgatory of the living?
Everything dies. It is the one thing we share. It is the one thing we share with everything in the universe. Even stars, their light eventually goes out. But material is renewed right? Chapters end, but there’s always new ones opening. And wise men have written, “There is a Time for everything under the sun”.
Going back to my question, what was the point of going to the cemetery once a year, to pray for the dead? What then is the point of celebrating death if it serves no purpose for the living? Is it then appropriate to ask, “Have we truly lived, or are we living-dead?”