Thanks to a Chaldean friend of mine for sharing with me this video showing the Maronite Prayer of Incense on the Feast of All Souls.
I looked up the words for this liturgical prayer and found these theologically rich and poetic verses:
1. On these clouds of fragrant smoke, and the scent of sweet perfume
O Lord, grant remembrance to the faithful who died.
All those who with fervent faith fed upon your holy flesh
and drank of your sacred blood, then died in your hope.
2. Faithfully the just have died resurrection is their hope;
awaiting the Lord to come and give them their due.
Nothing any eye has seen, nothing human ear has heard, nor what any mind has thought, the just shall receive.
3. Let us hear the Son who speaks at the time the dead will hear
the life-giving voice of God and rise incorrupt.
For those who accomplished good, resurrection and new life;
but those who accomplished ill, will stand to be judged.
4. Isaac buried Abraham as he grieved and mourned for him,
since life after death was hid, unknown to mankind.
But to Moses God appeared, speaking with him to reveal
the just and the righteous are alive with their God.
5. A new vessel has been seen laden with a great reward
traversing a stormy sea enriched by its store.
Mary is the vessel’s name, Christ-within-her, the reward,
who travels throughout the world to give mortals life.
6. O you saints’ when brought to court,
you confounded magistrates and made Satan run for fear; you conquered deceit.
Like gold tasted in the fire, you emerged from your distress;
triumphant your memory in heaven and earth.
7. We commemorate the saints who proclaimed the truth on earth,
and martyrs who won the prize, receiving the crown.
We commemorate the church and God ‘s mother, Mary blest,
and all those who left this world awaiting your hope.
The robust faith of Middle Eastern Christians is borne out of experiencing such liturgical richness as this, which is so didactic about life and our ultimate destination.