This one always confused me. We never said it a Protestants (and it didn’t make sense to me then). It doesn’t quite make sense to me now as a Catholic. I see the saved after death in one of two places - either purgatory - and expiation seems to me neither peaceful or restful - or heaven, which I think of as rather joyful, and not necessarily restful. We will be active in love and praise there. So what are we meaning when we pray: “May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace” ? Does anyone have any insights?
If you’re in hell, you’re not experiencing much peace now, are you?
If you’re in heaven, you’re probably in a very peaceful state, wouldn’t you?
It’s like, “May their souls find eternal rest in heaven”.
You may even look at it this way - once you’re in the presence of God, you can feel nothing but peace, and you can rest without the worldly worries that living on Earth hands you throughout your life.
I would say that being in peace doesn’t necessarily equate to being inactive. I love to fish for steelhead trout. I’m at peace when I fish on the river eventhough it’s a very active sport. This is just my opinion, but I always thought that rest in peace was a nice way of say, “Gee, I hope they aren’t in Hell.”
[quote=StCsDavid]… but I always thought that rest in peace was a nice way of say, “Gee, I hope they aren’t in Hell.”
This is basically the answer, that since we have no way of knowing where any given person goes after they die, it is a prayer that they are going to heaven. Protestants, in my experience, often make the presumption that their deceased loved ones go to heaven (“Grandpa’s in heaven, honey.”). Catholics are supposed to make no such presumption, and consider it a great act of charity to pray for the departed.
I see the saved after death in one of two places - either purgatory - and expiation seems to me neither peaceful or restful - or heaven, which I think of as rather joyful, and not necessarily restful.
I think it could be translated: May they speed through Purgatory if necessary and be at peace in the joys of Heaven.
Thanks. I see I was just looking at “peace” in a narrow way. To be away from the sin of the world - and be done expiating your own - would be peace no matter what else heavenly life is like.