"O LORD, support us all the day long, until the shadows lengthen, and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then in thy mercy, grant us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at last. Amen."
— The Book of Common Prayer
"I AM the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die."
— John 11:25-26
"MANY PEOPLE have asked me to tell them about heaven and the afterlife. I sometimes smile at the request because I do not know any more than they do. Yet, when one young man asked if I looked forward to being united with God and all those who have gone before me, I made a connection to something I said earlier in this book. The first time I traveled with my mother and sister to my parents' homeland in Tonadico di Primiero, in northern Italy, I felt as if I had been there before. After years of looking through my mother's photo albums, I knew the mountains, the land, the houses, the people. As soon as we entered the valley, I said, 'My God, I know this place. I am home.' Somehow I think crossing from this life into life eternal will be similar."
—Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, The Gift of Peace
"NOTHING CAN MAKE UP for the absence of someone whom we love, and it would be wrong to try to find a substitute; we must simply hold out and see it through. That sounds very hard at first, but at the same time it is a great consolation, for the gap, as long as it remains unfilled, preserves the bond between us."
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison
"FOR SINCE WE believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died."
— 1 Thessalonians 4:14
Unable are the Loved to die For Love is Immortality."
— Emily Dickinson
"MY LIFE is like a broken bowl, A broken bowl that cannot hold One drop of water for my soul Or cordial in the searching cold; Cast in the fire the perished thing, Melt and remould it, till it be A royal cup for Him my King: O Jesus, drink of me."
— Christina Rossetti
"i who have died am alive again today, and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth day of life and of love and wings . . . ."
— e.e. cummings
"THEY SAY such nice things about people at their funerals that it makes me sad to realize that I'm going to miss mine by just a few days."
— Garrison Keillor
"DEATH IS a private affair. A funeral is a public occasion. Grief is borne by the immediate family and close friends, that little band of bereaved clustered around the remains. The funeral provides the liturgy where, for a brief interval, grief can be contained while the final separation takes place. It employs a language, chiseled out over centuries, to comfort the grief-stricken where ordinary words fail. Ritual, mercifully, accommodates private grief and public sympathy."
— Liam Swords, Funeral Homilies
Love, I thought, is stronger than death or the fear of death. Only by it, by love, life holds together and advances."
— Ivan Turgenev
"THE DEATH of a member of Christ's body is a call to God's people. It is a call to come together, to gather, to remember, and to be sent forth with renewed faith-despite the seeming tragedy of death."
— John Allyn Melloh, S.M., Assembly
"NO PEOPLE who turn their backs on the dead can live. The presence of the dead among the living will be a daily fact in any society which encourages its people to live."
— Quoted in The Oxford Book of Death
"WAILING-WALL night! Engraved on you are the psalms of silence. The footprints, which filled with death Like ripening apples, Have found their way home to you. The tears which moisten your black moss Are being collected . . . . Wailing-wall night, You can be smashed by the lightning of prayer And all who overslept God Will wake to him Behind your falling wall."
— Nelly Sachs, "Chorus of Invisible Things"
"CHRISTIANS can speak about death in terms of gain as well as loss. . . . The fundamental Christian conviction is that, far from separating us from the love of God, death marks the point at which temporal obstacles to our experience of that love pass away."
— Amy Plantinga Pauw, "Dying Well," in Practicing Our Faith
Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak whispers the o're-fraught heart, and bids it break."
— William Shakespeare, Macbeth
"O LORD, you have freed us from the fear of death. You have made the end of life here the beginning of true life for us. For a time, you gave rest to our bodies in sleep and you awaken us again with the trumpet. The dust from which you fashioned us with your hands you give back to the earth for safekeeping. And you will recall it, transforming with immortality and grace our mortal . . . remains."
— Saint Macrina (327?-379), sister of Saints Basil and Gregory of Nyssa
"MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone."
— Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude
"GOD POURS life into death and death into life without a drop being spilled."
While I thought that I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die."
— Leonardo da Vinci
"WE SHALL DRAW from the heart of suffering itself the means of inspiration and survival."
— Winston Churchill
"PERHAPS THEY are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy."
— Eskimo proverb
"FOR DEATH is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity."
— William Penn
"DEATH IS NOT extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp because dawn has come."
— Rabindranath Tagore
"MAY GOD OPEN to me every pass, Christ open to me every narrow way, each soul of holy man and woman in heaven, be preparing for me my pathway."
— Celtic prayer
"SAINT JOSEPH, pray for us. Comfort of the troubled, pray for us. Hope of the sick, pray for us. Patron of the dying, pray for us. Terror of evil spirits, pray for us."
— Litany of Saint Joseph
The presence of that absence is everywhere."
— Edna St. Vincent Millay
"PRAISED BE my Lord for our sister, the death of the body, from which no one escapes."
— Saint Francis of Assisi
"LORD, LEAD me out of the ways of darkness; you broke down the gates of death, and visited the prisoners of darkness; you brought them light to let them see your face. They cried out in welcome: 'Redeemer, you have come at last!' "
— 1969 rite of the Catholic funeral liturgy
"RELIGION ... faces the wreck of worlds, and prophesies restoration. She faces a sky blood-red with sunset colours that deepen into darkness, and prophesies dawn. She faces death, and prophesies life."
— Felix Adler
"I'M NOT GOING to die, honey; I'm going home like a shooting star!"
— Sojourner Truth
"LET NOTHING trouble you, let nothing frighten you: Whoever has God lacks nothing. God alone is enough."
— Teresa of Avila
"FATHER of compassion, shelter them under the shadow of your wings forever and let their souls be bound in the bundle of life."
— From the Jewish rite of burial
Do nothing to add to the sorrow of a funeral or take away the joy of a wedding."
— Father John Cusick
"LIVE IN THE glory of God and the peace of our Lord! May you live in peace! May you sleep in the peace of Christ! Live forever in peace! Rejoice in peace! God give you refreshment! God give your soul comfort! Be in peace! May Christ receive you!"
— From early Christian funerary monuments