There are few things certain in this life on earth; one, that the day will come when we will experience the death of a loved one. And whether that death was long expected or sudden, we will be succumbed by grief, for even Jesus wept at the loss of his dear friend Lazarus. Death of a loved one, a family member or a good friend, can devastate us, catch us off-guard and it causes us to readjust what we understand as a normal rhythm in our lives.
It calls us to put many things on hold as we plan for and participate in the planning a funeral or attending a wake service or Mass of Christian burial. We come together to support one another. Initially we embrace, we offer condolences and we cry together. Then we begin to share our stories, the stories that illustrate how our lives were woven together with the person who has passed. We are a family of God and whether or not we are related genetically, we are most certainly related as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. It is here that we draw our strength, our love and our hope. It is in knowing Jesus Christ that we understand our time here on this earth is fleeting and the real true meaning of life is that of eternal life with God in heaven.
Throughout the experience of the death of a loved one; our last conversations, saying final goodbyes before the body is taken away, making phone calls to inform family and friends, holding one another in grief, arriving home without them for the first time, greeting many at the wake and funeral, and then being alone when all has quieted down,
THERE IS GRACE – God’s life within us and around us in the hearts and hugs and concern of others. And though we may experience profound loneliness, our faith assures us we are not alone. Our faith in Jesus Christ assures our hope for our loved one that God is a merciful and kind God who created each person in his image and for the purpose of serving him and returning to him. It is this that consoles us. It is the promise that our loved one now rests in the loving arms of Jesus that allows us to find a new normal after the passing of one who so profoundly touched our lives.
As our Church remembers all who have gone before us in the celebration of All Soul’s Day, let us together as a family of God be filled with gratitude for the gift of God’s love and his plan for each of us. Let us entrust our beloved family members and friends to God who is love and will forever be with them and us. And to all who have lost a loved one, may you find comfort and be made strong through the love of others and the memory of time with your beloved. Know of the continued prayers of your faith community at St. Francis Xavier for those who have passed and for your comfort and peace of heart.
Trusting in God’s goodness,
He Would Love First!
October 24, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC