Blessed are the Sorrowing

Some five years ago, I came across a meditation on the Beatitudes.  Though I lost the pages, I did manage to write out part of it in a journal.  This is my prayer tonight—for me and for others in sorrow.  You see, last week I anointed people in my church community at worship.  They came with hurting hearts, troubled souls, physical ailments, internal struggle.  I let go of myself and made room for the Spirit to breathe life into those I prayed with.

Before worship I took a quiet moment to pray for strength and for peace to fill my body and soul.  I was empty that day, in need of healing myself.  I found, that the ministry of praying over others in their need filled me, and it was a blessing.  I found myself in many of the brokenness expressed, and I also found God.  This meditation describes the compassion in my heart…

Blessed are the Sorrowing: They Shall Be Consoled

And what does it mean to mourn? I asked the multitude.
An old man stepped forward

To mourn, he said, is to be given a second heart.
It is to care so deeply
that you show your ache in person

To mourn is to be uanshamed of tears.
It is to be healed
and broken
and built-up
all in the same moment.

Blessed are you if you can minister to others
with a heart that feels
with a heart that hurts
with a heart that loves
and blessed are you if you can minister to others
with a heart that serves
and a heart that sees the need before it’s spoken.

To mourn is to forget yourself for a moment
and get lost in someone else’s pain
and then,
to find yourself
in the very act of getting lost.

To mourn is to be an expert
in the miracle of being careful with another’s pain.

It is to be full of the willingness
of forever reaching out to
and picking up
and holding carefully
those who hurt.

To mourn is to sing with the dying
and to be healed
by the song
and the death.

— Marciana Wiederkehr, OSB


On Grief, Part II: to fly away and rise again

fly away

6And I say, ‘O that I had wings like a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest;
7truly, I would flee far away;
I would lodge in the wilderness;

Psalm 55:6-7

Death is frightening to face, and confusing for those still among the living. In mourning we cry out and wonder why…and while death does not make sense, there is meaning in life. Sometimes, however, terror takes over. As I walk through grief for some situations in my life, I remember Psalm 55. In the cold shelter of a somber memorial at the Dachau Concentration Camp near Munich, Germany, I read this Psalm. Tears streaming down my face, I mourned for the millions, and reflected on an unimaginable terror. Why did such horrible events take place?

My heart grieves tonight for several reasons–remembering and honoring the dead, my own wounded past, and putting to death some plans that are unattainable. But even in grief, I hope. On a walk today I noticed new life in spring, as little baby ducks swam alongside their parents. With a sigh I wondered about the cycle of life and death, both physiologically and spiritually for us as humans. Life and death. So complex, so confounding. Life does spring where once was death…trees grow, our hearts heal, new relationships form…

While this photo is of tulip buds and not wheat, I am reminded of an easter hymn, Now the Green Blade Rises:

When our hearts are wintry,
grieving, or in pain,
Christ’s touch can call us
back to life again,
fields of our hearts
that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again like wheat that springs up green.

Love is come again…that is my prayer tonight, that love may come again.  That I may face that which frightens me with courage, and that all who grieve this night may know the spring love rising from the earth.