Here in our Parish in the last few months we have experienced the passing of many of our faithful. Most of us know parishioners, friends, neighbors, or relatives who are in mourning over the loss of loved ones. As Christians, most of us struggle with the reality of death. One of our leading Catholic teachers reminds us that death is part of living and a step along the road of life. We know we cannot escape it. Yet we also know that it is difficult to let go when a loved one passes from our midst. Letting go can be painful emotionally and so families who have lost loved ones grieve because of their loss and experience great sadness. Even Pope Francis publicly grieved over the recent loss of three of his relatives and invited all those who shared in his grief to unite with him in prayer.
As we have mentioned in the past, I believe it is fair to say that we are usually attentive to families and their needs at the time of the funeral of a loved one, and in its immediate aftermath. But as time passes, our attentiveness may wane. People grieve in different ways. They grieve for different lengths of time. We are challenged to become more sensitive to those who are truly grieving and assist them in their time of healing. Maybe we can pay them a visit on a periodic basis, or call them once a month, or invite them to a Church or community function. What may seem as small gestures by us may be viewed as thoughtful and sacrificial acts of charity by them.
The following prayer from EWTN reflects our great concern for those who grieve:
JESUS, YOUR WEPT AT THE DEATH OF YOUR FRIEND LAZARUS.
CONSOLE THOSE NOW GRIEVING THE LOSS OF A LOVED ONE.
LET THEM BE COMFORTED IN THE REMEMBRANCE OF YOUR PROMISES.
GIVE TO THOSE WHO MOURN, PEACE, IN THE MIDST OF THEIR TEARS.
YOU ARE THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE!
WE KNOW AND BELIEVE THIS!
LET THE DESPAIRING FIND HOPE AND
THE BROKENHEARTED RECEIVE THE CONSOLATION
OF YOUR PRESENCE AND YOUR LOVE. AMEN.