Friday, June 9, 2017

Death and Grief

Dear Parishioners,

I recall having a client whose spouse committed suicide. It was a grueling several months of therapy that eventually resolved the sting of my client's loss and questioning. I don’t think that any of us can get through our lives without loss and grief. It is a part of our common human experience. But a confusing and painful part. It is not easy to adjust your life to a new reality once someone close leaves us. Especially for one we are close to, their death changes our life in our habits, our expectations, our assumptions. The morning sun doesn’t seem to shine in the same way, and our shared experiences lose their zest and attractiveness. This is understandable and to be expected. Our taste for life has changed, and we need to reevaluate who we are in the light of our loss. But we can’t let grief become our master. I knew a woman who cried every evening over the death of her husband, even though he had been gone for 20 years. We need to allow the hope of our faith to enter into our emotional reaction. Christ has said that he has a place for us, he has set aside a room for us in His Father’s house (John 14:2). This is true for us and for our loved one. We need to grieve, but we need not lose hope over death. Christ’s resurrection is a triumph over death itself, which has “lost its sting” (1 Corinthians 15:55).

I would like to offer my services to anyone who feels the need to talk about their grief. Please call the office or email me from the Parish Staff page. We can get together in an informal way and talk about it. As well, in the fall, we are planning some activities on grief, so look for announcements in the Bulletin. Death is one of the great mysteries of life. Our faith gives us tools not to do away with it but to understand it and to live on in the face of it.

Deacon Steve

“When one loves anyone, it is a great happiness to have something of theirs as a souvenir. If we love our Mother, the Blessed Virgin, we should make it both our duty and privilege to have one of her pictures or statues in our home, which from time to time will remind us of her.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars


Week 14: Confessionals

The first Christians confessed their sins face to face to a bishop in his church and in some instances to the congregation. Public confessions were short-lived and stopped by Pope Leo I (r. 440-461), who wrote: “It is sufficient that the guilt which people have on their consciences be made known to the priests alone in secret confession.”

Face-to-face confession, typically kneeling before a priest or sitting in a chair at his side, was the norm until the middle ages when a screen was placed between the confessor and female penitents. This action eventually led to the introduction of the confessional booth in the 16th century, which included the screen separation, and from that time until the Second Vatican Council, confessions were normally anonymous. In 1974, the Church introduced a new formula for confession, which promoted a reconciliation room instead of a confessional booth. Penitents could now go to confession face to face or behind a screen.
***This article “Inside Our Sacred Space” was originally published in the OSV Newsweekly, www., on January 8-14, 2017 and is used with permission of the author D.D. Emmons. ***