Dear Sacred Heart Family,
This coming week I will be taking some vacation time (November 12th-16th) for a combination of things. 1) I have two priest classmates from Minnesota coming to Michigan for a visit. 2) I will be deer hunting with my twin brother. 3) I have family visiting from New York. It is going to be a great week!
In this month of November, when we remember our loved ones, I want to continue our series on the four Christian responses to death. Last week was taking time to grieve. This week is our response of remembering and learning from those who have gone before us.
Most people are very good at this. They naturally take time to look back and remember their loved ones. Often enough it is only when someone is gone from our lives do we realize the magnitude of their actions and their true legacy. Some lessons only are learned in hindsight
The challenge is to look at those who have died with truth, so that we can truly learn from them. At times there is a temptation to vacillate between looking back at someone with cynicism so that their whole life is colored in a negative way or looking back at someone with rose-colored glasses so anything negative is obscured. Well neither of those approaches do someone justice – only truth does.
This practically means looking back at someone who has gone before us and remembering and learning from both the good and bad aspects of their lives. We learn in two ways – from positive examples that we wish to emulate and from negative examples that we want to avoid doing ourselves. To truly learn from someone, we need to be able to learn in both of these ways. All of us are a mixed bag, none of us are perfect. Just like we wouldn’t think people would be scandalized by that fact so we shouldn’t be scandalized to realize this is true about those who have gone before us.
For the same person then we will have many memories of their acts of sacrifice, their love, their kindness and also things we will need to forgive them for. This is all part of grieving. Sometimes people die leaving unresolved hurts that still need to be dealt with, still forgiven even after they are gone. This is not a disservice to them or their memory. Wounds that remain after someone’s death are too often passed down if we can’t bring them into the light of God’s grace for healing.
Let’s pray for this grace to truly remember and learn from our loved ones.