G is for Grief

An  old story tells of a woman who asked a holy man to restore her child who had died.  He sent her out into the community to get a pepper from each family that had no such grief.  He promised to help her when she returned.  When evening came, she returned.  Her basket was empty, but her heart was filled with understanding.  The death of our loved ones can help us to be sympathetic and caring to others.

Blessed are those who mourn for they will be consoled.
— Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount

There is a sacredness in tears.
They are not the mark of weakness, but of power.
They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.
They are the messengers of overwhelming grief,
of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.
— Washington Irving

What we have once enjoyed deeply we can never lose.
All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.
— Helen Keller

The risk of love is loss, and
the price of loss is grief –
But the pain of grief
Is only a shadow
When compared with the pain
Of never risking love.
— Hilary Stanton Zunin

The bitterest tears shed over graves are
for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.
–Harriet Beecher Stowe

When St. Bernard of Clairvaux’s brother died,
the saint was filled with grief and
prayed that his tears might flow in streams.
When people told him not to weep or feel sad,
he replied that it would be insensitive not to do so.
“I feel it.  I feel it.  Let no one say
it is wrong to grieve over the death of a loved one.”

Grief can awaken us to
new values and new and deeper appreciations.
Grief can cause us
to reprioritize things in our lives,
to recognize what’s really important and put it first.
Grief can heighten our gratitude
as we cease taking the gifts life bestows on us for granted.
Grief can give us the wisdom of being with death.
Grief can make death the companion on our left
who guides us and gives us advice.
None of this growth makes the loss good and worthwhile,
but it is the good that comes out of the bad.
— Roger Bertschausen

A Prayer for Mourners
God of all consolation,
you alone turn the darkness of death
into the dawn of new life.
Be our refuge and our strength
to lift us and all who mourn
from the darkness of this grief
to the peace and light of your presence.
Let us find in Jesus
comfort in our sadness,
certainty in our doubt.
and courage in this time of grief.
We ask this through Christ our risen Lord.
[PHOTO is of Pearl of Grief by Rembrandt Peale.   Source/Photographer
the-athenaeum.org.   This is a faithful photographic reproduction of an original two-dimensional work of art. The work of art itself is in the public domain because of how old it is.  Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons]


About Paul Wharton

I am a cradle Catholic, a native West Virginian, and a priest since April 24, 1982. Spiritual Direction has made a tremendous difference in my life and I encourage people to try it out. My motto is "Progress not perfection." I am grateful that God has done for me what I could not do for myself.
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