Blessed Are They Who Mourn

A Jesuit father once told me that tears are a gift from God.  He told me at my father’s funeral.  I cried.

How could this be?

The Holy Father (while still Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger) explained in his book Jesus of Nazareth.  There are, he pointed out, two kinds of mourning.  “The first is the kind that has lost hope, that has become mistrustful of love and of truth, and that therefore eats man away from within.”  We’ve all seen this in action and may even have experienced it ourselves.  It truly is a vortex: by playing on the soul’s mistrust in face of the event, it chooses further mistrust as the solution.  The soul is then trapped.

There is another kind of mourning.  The Holy Father wrote: “But there is also the mourning occasioned by the shattering encounter with truth, which leads man to undergo conversion and to resist evil.  This mourning heals, because it teaches man to hope and to love again.”  The tears I shed for my father were of this kind.  Left alone, I would have been lost in the vortex trusting ever less until I lost the capacity to trust.  But I wasn’t lost.  I wasn’t lost because the Jesuit father who I mentioned, through his own tears (he and my father were friends), helped to teach me to hope and to love again.


A Prayer For Young People

Bl. John Paul II concluded his homily at the Solemn High Mass at World Youth Day 2002 with this prayer.  It expresses so well what I think most parents want for their children, especially as they mature and begin to face new challenges and questions about their faith.

O Lord Jesus Christ, keep these young people in your love. Let them hear your voice and believe what you say, for you alone have the words of life.

Teach them how to profess their faith, bestow their love, and impart their hope to others.

Make them convincing witnesses to your Gospel in a world so much in need of your saving grace.

Make them the new people of the Beatitudes, that they may be the salt of the earth and the light of the world at the beginning of the Third Christian Millennium!

Mary, Mother of the Church, protect and guide these young men and women of the Twenty-first Century. Keep us all close to your maternal heart. Amen