(1) to hasten the progression of the souls of the faithful departed in Purgatory to their place in Heaven (in Roman Catholicism)
(2) to rest in the love of God the souls of the faithful departed in Paradise until the resurrection of the dead and Last Judgement (in Catholicism, Anglicanism, Methodism, Lutheranism)
The prayer is cited from 2 Esdras (4 Esdras Vulgate):
Therefore I say to you, O nations that hear and understand, “Wait for your shepherd; he will give you everlasting rest, because he who will come at the end of the age is close at hand. Be ready for the rewards of the kingdom, because perpetual light will shine on you forevermore. -2 Esdras 2:34-35 NRSV
This Roman Catholic doctrine is found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 1030-1032:
All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned...From the beginning the Church has honoured the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God. The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead.
°The United Methodist Church teaches the "truth of intercessory prayer for the dead" and that "prayer for the dead has been a widespread practice throughout Christian history [and] is a profound act of love addressed to a God of love". ′
- ℣. Requiem æternam dona ei (eis), Domine
- ℟. Et lux perpetua luceat ei (eis):
- ℣. Requiescat (-ant) in pace.
- ℟. Amen.
The translation used by English-speaking Roman Catholics is:
- ℣. Eternal rest, grant unto him/her (them), O LORD,
- ℟. And let perpetual light shine upon him/her (them).
- ℣. May he/she (they) rest in peace.
- ℟. Amen.
- ℣. Rest eternal grant him/her, O LORD;
- ℟. and let light perpetual shine upon him/her.
- ℣. May he/she rest in peace.
- ℟. Amen.
- ℣. Rest eternal grant unto them, O LORD:
- ℟. and let light perpetual shine upon them.
- ℣. May they rest in peace.
- ℟. Amen.
we praise you for the great company of all those
who have finished their course in faith
and now rest from their labor.
We praise you for those dear to us
whom we name in our hearts before you.
Especially we praise you for Name,
whom you have graciously received into your presence.
To all of these, grant your peace.
Let perpetual light shine upon them;
and help us so to believe where we have not seen,
that your presence may lead us through our years,
and bring us at last with them
into the joy of your home
not made with hands but eternal in the heavens;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
- Gould, James B. (4 August 2016). Understanding Prayer for the Dead: Its Foundation in History and Logic. Wipf and Stock Publishers. pp. 41–55. ISBN 9781620329887.
- Gould, James B. (4 August 2016). Understanding Prayer for the Dead: Its Foundation in History and Logic. Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 51. ISBN 9781532606014.
- Gould, James B. (4 August 2016). Understanding Prayer for the Dead: Its Foundation in History and Logic. Wipf and Stock Publishers. pp. 41–51. ISBN 9781620329887.
- Mercer, Samuel Alfred Browne; Lewis, Leicester C. (1961). Anglican Theological Review. Marquette University. p. 364. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
- "An Order for the Burial of the Dead". The Church of England. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
- The United Methodist Book of Worship: Regular Edition Black. Kingswood Books. 5 April 2016. p. 164. ISBN 9781426735004.