Sunday, February 26, 2012

 

Sunday Reflection: Death and God

As readers of the Razor (and students at St. Thomas) well know, one of the wonderful parts of my life is the occasional morning visit from Susan Stabile, my colleague and faith-life mentor. Several of our discussions have spun out into public presentations, and that is really just the tip of the iceberg.

This week, we were both struggling with death among people we care about.

In the midst of that, she said something wonderful and profound and comforting. I will pass it along without needless comment:

"Death is really our full communion with God."

Comments:
“This week, we were both struggling with death among people we care about.” – Mark

"Death is really our full communion with God." – Susan Stabile

A communion we struggle to embrace as death is often considered the requirement – though a communion offered in life, when we willingly die to self. How blessed are we to have come to know Aunt Bunny and Katherine Darmer through Susan and Mark personally sharing (their struggle) celebrations of life. The realm of our communion with God transcends Heaven and earth, as we are called to the communion of (s)aints – called by faith, to action and to share as openly…

From “Consoling and Being Consoled” – Creo en Dios! 02-06-12

“What blasted in my mind when Fr. Dale asked that final question was the realization that being part of a faith community (and perhaps other communities as well) means accepting consolation in one’s own suffering as well as consoling others.

For many of us, consoling others is a whole lot easier than accepting consolation. We are comfortable being with others in their suffering, supporting with our words or presence, doing things to take care of others. But for many of us, letting others into our suffering, being willing to put ourselves into the hands of another, letting them take care of us, is much less comfortable. Oh, most of us can do that with one or two of our closest friends, but accepting it from others beyond that seems to make us more vulnerable than we quite like.”

Having shed not a tear for the passing of my parents, consoled by the blessing of their lives in mine, brings forth my tears when introduced to the difficult moments and sorrow experienced by others – who willing share…

I pray we all have an Aunt Bunny to cherish in memoriam and a Katherine [whose (s)aintly life never touched ours] to encourage us during each new today – in faith, to embrace the unconditional love God speaks of and, filled with hope, act lovingly towards all of our brothers and sisters.

“God takes us all as he finds us and can work with that, whatever it is. The related point is that our own measure of success in our spiritual lives is not: were we as much Francis as Francis, or as much Thomas More as Thomas More. It is, rather, how did we use the particular gifts God gave us.” – Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR,
- Creo en Dios!

Reflecting on smiles like Katherine’s, Susan’s, Mark’s, my parent's and others greet me each morning – My morning tears I cherish, for they assure my invitation into “…our full communion with God.”
 
One thing I know about greif is that there is no time table for it. Everyone takes their own time to do it - and there is no like time when you " shgould be over it by now.." or anything. Also there is no way AROUND IT just THROUGH.

Simply put you just have to feel bad until you don't feel AS bad anymore. And you never get OVER it... but it gets less intense over time. As one person put it very eloquently... There is a jagged hole in your heart and soupl and over time the edges get less jagged... but the hole is still there.
 
I like the "full communion with God" language. It reminds me of my father-in-law's Moravian funeral, where the liturgy used the language of my husband's beloved father being "in the closer presence of God." I liked that, too, because it reminded us all that God is always with us, even (and maybe especially) when we grieve.
 
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