If memory serves, the famous liturgical poem Dies Irae originally had purpose not at the funeral Requiem Mass but was instead used on the last day of the Church year. Bits of it may stretch back as far as Gregory the Great (7th cent.), though the current form is Late Medieval.
The imagery, which today we associate with death and personal loss, was intended to have a cosmic significance. Just as the people we love all pass away, one day this planet we inhabit will also disappear. And who knows? Perhaps even the universe itself will pass away.
Lacrimosa dies: the tearful day. We shed tears for many different reasons. Tears may be fearful, regretful or sorrowful. We shed tears of pain, despair and emptiness, but we also shed tears of joy, surprise, wonder, marvel, ecstasy and gratitude.
Click here to listen to Zbigniew Preisner’s haunting Lacrimosa from his Requiem for My Friend.
January 14, 2017