Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Grief

Where can I go from your spirit? from your presence where can I flee?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I sink to the nether world, you are present there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
if I settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
Even there your hand shall guide me,
and your right hand hold me fast.
If I say, "Surely the darkness shall hide me, and night shall be my light" --
For you darkness itself is not dark, and night shines as the day.


~ Psalm 139:7-12


Grief is like the ocean. It's powerful and comes in waves. It recedes and you go about your daily business and suddenly it hits you again from behind in an overwhelming whoosh. And, in the words of one my little nine-year-olds, Fiona, "When it comes to being sad, there's hardly any way to stop it."

I decided to write on grief today because grief has struck our family. It's not the first time. It strikes every family. This death was terribly sudden and particularly hurt one of my daughters. I am not entirely convinced about what they say about the "seven stages of grief" outline in psychology. I'm not sure it's that simple and neatly drawn. It feels messier and looks different depending upon the circumstances, the relationships between the people, and other factors.

But no matter how we experience grief, God is with us every step... even if we feel alone... even if we feel hollowed out and wretched.

And the Catholic religion is a religion of hope. We are free to hope that we'll be reunited with our loved-ones. We're free to pray for them after they die, offer masses, etc. God is merciful and we must trust Him.

While Reconciliation is the ordinary way God gave us to cleanse away sins, what if a loved one didn't take part in that sacrament before they died? Well, we don't know the true state of a soul at the point of death. Only God knows. We must trust and be comforted in His love, mercy, power, and grace. He loves each of us more than we can ever imagine.

 helpful links- National Catholic Ministry to The Bereaved and Catholic Answers


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