Grant The Eternal Rest?


All Souls day for EF.

Ever notice during many of the prayers it says “grant them eternal rest”? That doesn’t sound good, almost like eternal death.

Our reward in Heaven isn’t eternal rest…is it?


El Paso

Yes it is. “Rest” in Biblical terms isn’t sleep; it means the end of effort, or the accomplishment of one’s goals. That’s why Psalm 95 says: “[That generation] shall not enter into my rest”, which refers specifically to the entrance of the first generation of Israel not entering the Promised Land after the Exodus from Egypt, not them dropping dead (which is pretty much what happened, but it was not considered “rest”).

Heaven is what we were made for. Once we make it there, all our efforts and struggles are over. We will be with God, who is our origin and our destiny. We will indeed be at “rest” there.

“Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord” (with the response “And let perpetual light shine upon them”) is the classic prayer for the departed, recited at the wake service, the funeral Mass, and the graveside committal, as well as during prayers for the dead long after. Don’t see the problem.


I was not trying to be flippant as I see that may have read. it just struck me at Mass for some reason.

This makes more sense now.


I think we live in a time when many of us have jobs that don’t require intense physical labor. Many people work harder at “relaxing” than they do at “working”.

As a result we often find the concept of “resting from our labors” to seem incredibly BORING. Eternity can seem like such a long time that we wonder whatever will we have to do. I think this is something of an indictment of a world that is addicted to excitement.

But as others have said, it doesn’t mean rest as in the sense of sleep. It’s more like celebrating on the Sabbath. Our lives mirror God’s example in Genesis in that we work (live) for “six days” and then we get to rest on the seventh day. That rest includes celebration.

Good point, I was thinking about that at mass too yesterday. More posting to say I like the quote in your sig though, something that secular ‘‘Christianity and science conflict’’ people could learn from. :stuck_out_tongue:

That’s what “requiem aeternam” means.

requies - rest, repose, refreshment, relaxation, recreation, ease

The first words of the Mass for the Dead in the Latin liturgy are “Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine …” translated “Grant them eternal rest, O Lord …”.

“Requiem” is the accusative singular of requies “rest (after labor), repose,” from re - an intensive prefix, and quies “quiet”.

The meaning is not parked in the grass smoking a Camel while staring at the clouds, but a permanent respite from the worry, pain, struggle, and uncertain outcome of life on earth.

Rest like you have just completed a marathon, our life is like a marathon.

St Paul writes that we work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Heaven is eternal rest. That is why “rest in peace” is a devout phrase. Hell would be eternal unrest.

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