Blessed Are Those Who Mourn
After the death of his wife, C.S. Lewis reflected on his feelings of grief. “No one ever told me,” he wrote, “that grief felt so like fear.”
It is a frightening turn in life when someone we love is no longer present. When a person with whom we shared a significant loving relationship dies, we miss the security that person gave us—whether as spouse, parent, sibling, or friend—and we miss his or her love. We try to cope and go on, but it can be overwhelming. We can feel stuck, rooted in the time and place when everything altered too quickly.
Sadness often runs very deep, defining our reality for some time past the death of this person we cared about. It can be concerning to others who love us, who may not always know what to say or do, but their support is crucial. We need them to help us adjust to our changed world and understand that we are never alone. We need to realize that this loss is not the end of our love for the deceased or the end of the person’s love for us. Most essentially, we need to find hope again.
God’s comfort through prayer
Prayer continues to be a constant that can guide us through every harsh turn in our lives and lead us back to our Creator. We can say our own private prayers or look to the long history of our faith for prayers that are part of that history, including those left to us by saints and other spiritual guides. Through prayer for one another, we are united in communion and help one another, no matter whether we are still on the journey toward God or are among those already in glory with God.
This communion extends to all our dead who lived in truth and love. Prayer intimately connects us with God, but it also has the capacity to make spiritual connections among ourselves. It opens a portal through which loving communication will never cease, with God honoring our prayers for one another. It is a great solace to realize that prayer can continue the conversation with loved ones that we may have thought stopped with their death.
As the community of the Church, we are also called to support the grieving. We will find our role shifts over time from that of bereaved being consoled to consoler of the bereaved. “Blessed are they who mourn,” teaches Jesus in the Beatitudes. When we gather together in worship, our prayers help those who are grieving, as does our communal sharing of the Eucharist. Our commitment to living our faith is reflected in how we treat others. Simple kindness makes a difference; a phone call or a shared meal can mean a lot to someone dealing with grief. Just listening can heal. The company of others, both in and outside of church worship, can lessen the aloneness that the grieving experience. The company of those who follow Christ can truly remind those who mourn that they are never alone. We walk together, and God is always near.