Dear Sacred Heart Family,
I hope everyone had a great thanksgiving. I enjoy Black Friday almost as much as Thanksgiving day. Our tradition has been that Mom and the girls all go shopping while the guys stay home playing cards while eating Venison Steak. It doesn’t get much better than that!
This weekend I want to finish up our series on the fourfold Christian response to death. Having grieved, taken time to remember and learn from our loved ones, pray for them and ourselves, we end by realizing anew God’s providence.
The Church year ends in November with the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. This feast day is the celebration of the God’s providence, that all things are wrapped up in God Himself. All that happened in the past year and all that will happen in the year ahead will take place in the reality of God’s love and care. When it comes then to dealing with our grief at the death of a loved ones this helps us remember several important truths:
While death is a reality that seems all encompassing the truth is God is bigger. Paul writes: We do not want you to be unaware, brothers, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep. (1 Thess 4:13-14).
Death no longer has the last word. The last word belongs to God. While there are many verses that would apply, I want to use these words Jesus left with the Apostles just before His own Passion: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. (John 14:1-3). In times of great pain and grief we cling to His words, His promises like we cling to a lifeline thrown to a struggling swimmer.
We are never alone. Psalm 139 is one of my favorites and has been a great source of comfort in times of anxiety and fear.
“LORD, you have probed me, you know me: you know when I sit and stand; you understand my thoughts from afar. You sift through my travels and my rest; with all my ways you are familiar. Even before a word is on my tongue, LORD, you know it all. Behind and before you encircle me and rest your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, far too lofty for me to reach. Where can I go from your spirit? From your presence, where can I flee? If I ascend to the heavens, you are there; if I lie down in Sheol, there you are. If I take the wings of dawn and dwell beyond the sea, Even there your hand guides me, your right hand holds me fast. If I say, “Surely darkness shall hide me, and night shall be my light”. Darkness is not dark for you, and night shines as the day. Darkness and light are but one” (Psalm 139: 1-12)
In the face of death, we lay our loved ones into His hands who carry all things. Then we can’t forget to let Him carry us too.
God Bless! Fr. Todd