Q & A
Question: Is it ok for us to be cremated? (instead of burial)
Theologically there is no issue. A few things to note:
1) The tradition that exists supporting the burial is the hope that when the Lord comes we will be raised bodily.
Ezekiel 37 shows how by the power of God, bones get joined to bone, flesh appearing and skin covering them. It does not matter in what state our remains are when He comes again, He has the power to breathe life into them if He wills.
2) The body which communed with the Holy Body and Blood is holy. There is an idea of preservation of that body in a tomb. So if cremated, perhaps ashes may be preserved.
3) During the time of persecution, so many martyrs were burnt to death. Surely, if the Lord will raise them on the last day, He will raise the person cremated too.
4) Sentiments has a huge role to play in sacramental tradition (see how the Holy Week tone is melancholy for eg). So unless the society left behind is ready to accept cremation for a dead person, it is better to avoid it. Conversely when the society becomes ready to accept cremation as appropriate, the Church should not have an issue.
This explanation is not a dogma of the Church, but a generally accepted understanding.
Question: Which days do we have fasting during Lent?
Normal Fasting days in Lent are from Monday to Friday. Holy Qurbana is not allowed on these days as these are days for repentance, penitence and fasting (not celebrations). Holy Qurbana is celebrated on Saturdays of the Lent.
Hence after Holy Qurbana since there is no fasting, thus Saturday does not have the normal instructions for fasting like other days.Yet the food is kept simple and same as the fasting days. Similarly, Sunday is the Lord’s day and hence the day for Holy Qurbana and hence it does not have the normal fasting instructions. [This means for Saturday and Sunday ideally we need to use the regular (non Lent) prayers]
Question: Is Organ Donation discouraged in the Church? if a person dies and he donates his heart, will it affect any of the prayers during burial?
Not at all. It is a very virtuous deed to donate your organs. Note that John the Baptist was buried without his head and He is consdered by the Lord as the greatest person ever born of woman. If we believe that when the Lord comes, John the Baptist will be surely restored from that state, we will be ok without a heart or another organ when the Lord comes.
Question: Why are our prayers repetitive?
We take shower everyday in the same manner. It is very repetitive. Yet we do it taking care that we remove the dirt from the body. We keep repeating it because we understand that unless we clean ourselves daily, we can get sick. It is the same idea in the spiritual realm when we use prayers. We repeat them, yet with great care, each time our spiritual experience must be different.
P.S.: About the last question, let me add a beautiful answer Barnabas Thirumeni gave – we kiss a baby once, then we kiss the baby again, then again. Why? Why do we repeat? Is kissing the first time not enough? Its the same way with prayer. Its an exercise in love.