If you’re experiencing a period of mourning or grief, hope can be hard to find in the midst of suffering. When we lose loved ones, it’s easy to become worried that we won’t recognize them when we reach Heaven. Or maybe you’re afraid that Heaven will be boring. But Heaven is not boring. It’s not filled with days upon days of singing ‘Hallelujah’ while dressed in white robes. It is so much more – full of beauty, peace, and union with our loved ones, the saints, and our Lord.
Death is not the end! The saints and the Bible point to an eternity filled with perfected friendships, reunion with those who have gone before us, and the beauty of being free from all sins and regrets.
Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re looking to find hope in the midst of great grief:
1. Give yourself time to grieve.
It can be easy to beat ourselves up when it comes to grieving. We wonder how long the grieving process will be or why it’s taking us so long to get through certain stages of grief. Don’t be afraid to allow yourself time to grieve. After all, Christ himself wept when his friend, Lazarus died.
St. Paulinus, bishop of Nola wrote: “Why condemn the mourning of holy mortals? Did not Jesus Himself weep for Lazarus, whom He loved? Did He not deign to commiserate our unhappiness so far as to shed tears over one that was dead? Did He not, humbling Himself to the level of human infirmity, weep for him whom He was about to raise to life by means of His divine nature? It is for this, O my brother, that your tears are pious and holy; for a similar affection causes them to flow; and if you weep for a worthy and chaste companion, it is not that you have doubts of the resurrection, but that your love has its regrets and its desires.”
2. There is no shame in grieving the loss of someone you love.
Mourning the loss of a family member or loved one is nothing to be ashamed of. Francois Fenelon, the Archbishop of Cambrai wrote: “We could be tempted to wish that all good friends might wait to die on the same day. Those who have no affection would bury the whole human race with dry eyes and light hearts, such men are unworthy to live. Our sensibility to friendship costs us much, but those who possess it would be ashamed to be without it – they would rather suffer than be devoid of feeling.”
It’s better to mourn the loss of someone you love than to not be affected by their passing. Don’t skip stages of grief or be ashamed to take all the time you need to grieve.
3. Remember that Christ mourns with you.
When Christ suffered on the cross for us, He felt all of our sorrows. When you mourn here on this earth, you don’t mourn alone. Christ is right beside you to help you through this period of darkness.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux wrote: “The more we are united to God, the fuller we are of love. Now, if God cannot know anguish Himself, He can and does commiserate ours; for to pity the wretched and to pardon the guilty is a thing peculiar to Him.”
4. Heaven will be full of rejoicing with those who’ve gone before us.
Although the time of mourning here on earth can feel like an eternity, it is nothing compared to being reunited with those we love in Heaven and spending eternity with them.
St. Cyprian wrote: “Since we live here below as strangers and travelers, let us sigh for the day that will restore us to home, and give us back our place in the kingdom of Heaven. Who, being in exile, would not long to return to his country? Who, hastening home by sea, would not desire a favorable breeze to waft him the sooner to the embraces of his dear ones? Heaven is our home, and the patriarchs, our ancestors, are there before us. Many who are dear to us are expecting us; a considerable number of relations, brothers, children, are anxiously waiting for our arrival. They are certain now of their own eternal happiness and are full of solicitude for our salvation. To see, to embrace them – what joy both for them and us!”
This blog was written by Chloe Langr