Thursday, January 31, 2013
St. John Bosco, Priest (Memorial)
Love God, serve God: everything is in that.
-- St Clare of Assisi
A Consoling Presence
He also told them, "Take care what you hear." Mark 4:24
They were a lovely and joy-filled couple in their mid-forties. I was glad to witness their wedding vows and attend the reception. I often greeted them following Sunday Mass. Two years after the wedding I stood beside her at a funeral home. Cancer had taken him away. I remember her saying, "Why did this happen to us?" I had not a satisfying answer. I gave her a hug, promised to be supportive and offered a prayer.
She repeated the same words to the next person in line. What she was saying sounded like a question, but I realized she was not asking a theological explanation of death. She was expressing a very deep hurt and saying it was going to be extremely difficult to go on without him. In painful and distressing situations we do best by just being present and offering our understanding and support. If we listen carefully, we realize the real need is not an explanation but consolation.
Fr. James Karns