Joyce Rupp | Blessing of the One Who Draws Near Death
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Blessing of the One
Who Draws Near Death

Those who have loved and cherished the dying person gather around the bedside.  Throughout the blessing, those gathered gently touch the patient. As each part of the body is blessed, the hand of one of those present is placed on or near that particular part of the patient’s body and remains there as the blessing and remembrances are shared.

Leader:                   (name of dying person), our beloved one, we gather to send you forth on the wings of love.  We join with you and give you our love as you face the great mystery of life and death. We free you to take leave of us as your time nears.  We cradle your love in our hearts and in our memories.  Always you will remain a part of us.  We gather here to bless you for your journey Home and to express our gratitude for what you have given to us by your presence in our lives.

(Each of the following blessings is prayed by the leader who then invites those present to tell how this part of the body was a gift for the dying person and for those who were a part of his (her) life. After each blessing all are invited to speak the response.)

Leader:               , we are going to bless your body. It has housed a wonderful spirit for many years and been a gift to both you and to us. Thank you for this privilege of blessing you.


Blessing of the head:

We bless your head,               . (name of dying person)  Thank you for the ways that you have influenced our lives by your beliefs, attitudes, and values. Thank you for sharing your hopes and dreams. We especially thank your head and you for… (those gathered now share specific things…)

Response: YOU WILL ALWAYS BE A PART OF OUR HEARTS. GO IN PEACE.”


Blessing of the eyes:

We bless your eyes,               .  We are grateful for what these eyes have seen in bringing you joy and happiness.  We are thankful for the times when these eyes have looked upon us with love. We especially thank your eyes and you for… (those gathered now share specific things…)

Response: YOU WILL ALWAYS BE A PART OF OUR HEARTS. GO IN PEACE


Blessing of the ears:

We bless your ears,               .  Thank you for the ways that they have been attuned to both the outer and the inner world. Thank you for the times you have listened to us. We especially thank your ears and you for… (those gathered now share specific things…)

Response: “YOU WILL ALWAYS BE A PART OF OUR HEARTS. GO IN PEACE.”


Blessing of the mouth:

We bless your mouth,               . This mouth has been the carrier of your wisdom. Thank you for words of courage and kindness that you have spoken to us. Thank you for the truths you gave to us. We especially thank your mouth and you for… (those gathered now share specific things…)

Response: YOU WILL ALWAYS BE A PART OF OUR HEARTS. GO IN PEACE


Blessing of the hands:

We bless your hands. Your hands have been a source of welcome and of help in countless ways. We offer our gratitude for all that these hands have done.  We especially thank your hands and you for… (those gathered now share specific things…)

Response: YOU WILL ALWAYS BE A PART OF OUR HEARTS. GO IN PEACE.”


Blessing of the sexual organs:

If the dying person is a woman who has birthed children, someone’s hand is placed over her stomach area:

We bless your womb, recalling how wondrously it was filled with life. We thank your womb for the child(ren) it carried, nurtured, and brought forth. We especially thank your womb and you for… (those gathered now share specific things…)

If the dying person is a man who is a father, someone’s hand could be placed above the groin area:

We bless your genitalia and give thanks for the seed of life which you gave to your child(ren).  We especially thank your genitalia and you for…  (those gathered now share specific things…)

If the dying person has not borne children, hands are placed above the breasts or groin area:

We bless your sexuality. Your femininity (or masculinity) gave passion and color to your life.  Thank you for your sexuality which enhanced your life and brought enjoyment to you. We thank you and your sexuality for…  (those gathered now share specific things…)

Response: “YOU WILL ALWAYS BE A PART OF OUR HEARTS. GO IN PEACE.”


Blessing of the feet:

We bless your feet.  You have stood and walked on these feet since your youth. These feet have journeyed through many of life’s ups and downs.  We thank you and your feet for…. (those gathered now share specific things…)

Response: “YOU WILL ALWAYS BE A PART OF OUR HEARTS. GO IN PEACE.”


Blessing of the heart:

We bless your heart. This heart has pulsed with life. It has given and received love. This heart has contained many emotional bonds with those gathered here. It has given you energy to live. We thank your heart and you for… (those gathered now share specific things…)

Response: “YOU WILL ALWAYS BE A PART OF OUR HEARTS. GO IN PEACE.”


(Other parts of the body could also be blessed. e.g. Someone for whom life has been particularly difficult, the shoulders could be blessed and thanked for the heavy loads of life they’d sustained)


Leader
:

We now extend our hands over you, gathering the love in our hearts and extending it to you as fully as possible. May our love surround you and fill you with strength and courage.

All extend their hands over the dying person. The following prayer is prayed by the leader:

May the angels of eternal life draw you into the embrace of the divine Presence.

May the angels of mercy comfort you and bring you peace as you depart from us.

May the angels of hope take you by the hand and lead you Home.

All: “YOU WILL ALWAYS BE A PART OF OUR HEARTS. GO IN PEACE.”

If the group is so inclined, all join hands and sing a favorite song of the dying person or pray a familiar prayer.

(Taken from: Out of the Ordinary, Joyce Rupp )