Incarnational piety can take the form of putting faith into words and pictures through holy cards. Cards honoring saints and containing prayers, sometimes cards specifically intended for events such as wakes/funerals or ordinations, are a distinctly Catholic tradition. They call us back to a mindfulness of our call to holiness, as well as someone else’s response to that call and the Church’s nurturing of that call. Ken “wittily” compared them to trading cards from our youth. Bill remembered the gum that came in those packages. This guy on YouTube went beyond merely remembering.
Holy cards are valuable for pointing toward the spiritual reality that is beyond us. They celebrate the incarnational nature of our faith; for example, cards received at the wakes of loved ones are treasured reminders of those people who blessed us by sharing their faith and love. The cards are an invitation for us to pray for them. Holy cards honoring saints also invite us to pray to those saints for intercession.
With a funeral memorial card, the image of the saint on the card and the words of the prayer on the card tap into our memories and integrate us into the broader vision of the community of faith, the Communion of Saints. Traditional prayers make us mindful of graces from the past, complementing the practice of spontaneous prayer as a present-moment conversation we have with God.
The prayers on these cards aid the conversation that is part of our ongoing relationship with the Lord. Such words, whether they are in formal or spontaneous form, have power for building that relationship. We appreciate the value of well-chosen words that resonate in our minds and hearts.