Holy Spirit Interactive
Monday, March 27, 2017
Inside Holy Spirit Interactive

It's Me Again, Lord ...

A Cry from the Bereaved Heart

by Fr. Jack McArdle

The person who has died could be anywhere within the range of the still-born or the cot death to an aged grandmother, a spouse, a child, a friend . The death could have been unexpected, as with heart attack, accident, suicide, or murder It could have involved several loved ones, through fire, car accident, etc. Because of all these possibilities, I will not attempt to write a prayer that would cover all eventualities. Rather will I make a few suggestions that might 'kick-start' your own personal prayer, and leave you alone with your God. My main attempt, in this chapter, will be to share what I believe the good Lord might want to say to you now, in the midst of all your pain.

Listen ...............

Dear Lord, I'm really hurting. I know that death is a fact of life. I see lists of death notices in every newspaper I read. For so long, death seemed to me something that happened to some family somewhere else. But, this time, Lord, it has hit me, and I'm caught up in the pain, in the reality..............

Death never seems to come at the right time. For some, it comes too soon, and for others, it seems to be long overdue....... In my case........

I know that, once a baby is born that it is born to die. That is the only fact of life that we already know about this newborn infant.....

Death frightens me, and puzzles me, because I just don't understand it. The timing and the circumstances are so unpredictable as to appear haphazard and at random. There seems to be no order of selection, where children bury their parents, or whether people are good, bad, productive, or destructive.........

No matter what the Christian faith may teach us, I still experience some sense of finality about the parting. I still expect to meet up again with those who have gone on ahead, but, in a very real way, for me, at least, life will never be the same again.....

I often heard it said that each person is very unique, and that no two people are alike. I now know that the loss of a person is very unique, and the pain of that loss is also unique. The pain I now feel is my own personal pain at the loss of that particular person............

I had often heard it said that guilt can be part of the grieving process, and that had puzzled me. Now I know what is meant by that. All the things I didn't do, all the things I didn't say....now it's too late. There are also the things that I did say and do that I regret...........

For so much of my life I tended to just plod along, taking things for granted, and not wishing to reflect too deeply on the realities or the possibilities. Now I am stopped in my tracks, as I waken up to the reality of what has happened......

I know that this time gives me an opportunity to really examine my beliefs, my faith, and my convictions. I'm not looking for some sort of 'holy balm' to cover over the hurt, and make it go away. I know rightly that I must go through the pain, if I am to come through this with greater strength. I'm not looking for any 'quick-fix' that will make everything different, and insulate me from the reality of what has happened, or how I feel. I just ask you, Lord, to help me through this time, and to enable me find you in some new way. Somewhere within me is the hope that, by doing so, I will strengthen the bond with the one I have lost, and that I can come to a deeper conviction, and a deeper awareness of what life and death is all about.

Speak ......................

My dear child, thank you for turning to me in the midst of your pain. I understand how you feel, and I can even understand if you have experienced anger at what you consider I have allowed happen to you. I, too, know what it feels like to cry at a grave-side. When I lived on this earth, just like you, I, too, lost a very close friend in Lazarus. When I met the widow of Naim, following the dead body of her only son, I was deeply moved, and I relieved her pain. (Don't forget that Lazarus and the widow's son still had to die at a later date, so things were postponed rather than solved). All of this happened before I myself passed through the gates of death. In doing so, I overcame death, and it was of primary importance to me to convince the apostles, beyond all shadow of doubt, that I had overcome death, and it was no longer an enemy. In the story of Creation, after God created anything, like the planets, the waters, the earth, etc., the Bible says "And he saw that it was good". Sin, sickness, and death were not part of that creation. These are like the weeds among the good wheat in the Gospel story. They are the direct results of original sin. It was to remove all three that I came.

When I publicly joined the sinners that came to John the Baptist at the Jordan river, I took upon my own shoulders the sins of the whole world. My Calvary began from that moment. It was then that "the heavens were opened", the Holy Spirit was seen to come upon me, and the Father's voice was heard, calling on the people to listen to me. When I bowed my head in death "the veil of the Holy of Holies in the Temple was torn in two". The heavens were opened once again, and it was now possible for you, and all of yours, to enter the Holy of Holies, to come right into the presence of God. That was made possible by my death. I paid the price so that you and yours could enter heaven, could return to the Garden.

Life is a journey, and, once it begins, it never ends. There are three stages in that journey. There is the womb-life, the womb of life, and the fulness of life. Under normal circumstances, the womb-life is a fairly fixed and definite time. The fulness of life is eternal, never ending. It is the womb of life itself that presents the problems. Death itself is certain ; it is life that is uncertain. As I said, life is a journey, but it is a journey that you have never travelled before. In other words, you don't know what's to be seen around the next corner. It is a mystery to be lived, rather than a problem to be solved. It is a proces of growth, a journey of discovery. Each person continues to be part of my creation, within my love and care, and destined for eternal life with me. The problem with life is that there are many many factors in life which I do not predestine or predict, because of the freewill of each individual, and the inherent frailties of human life itself. The body is like a very delicate earthen vessel, subject to all the pressures, hardships, violence, diseases, and mishaps of human living. The body is not you. You are a spiritual being, living in a frail human body for a relatively short while, and, at any time, for whatever reason, the body can break down, can fold up, and can cease to function. It is then time to leave the body, and go ahead to the third and final stage of life, when you join me in a whole new life that is eternal, free from all the hardships of human living. The timing of this is subject to a combination of millions of factors, most of them of human origin, and the effects of human situations, circumstances, and events.

I know it is very difficult for you to understand all of this. It may seem, at times, as if I just don't care, or I don't want to get involved. My love for you, my plan for your eternal happiness, and my accompanying you on your journey, never ever ceases to be. If I were to protect you from all the hardships of life, and to smooth out every step of your journey, then I am depriving you of growth, and interfering in your choices, and greatly limiting your options. I never wanted Judas to go out and hang himself, but I couldn't stop him, if he chose to do so. My love and my presence is totally and completely with you, no matter what happens to you. If I am with you only when things are going well for you, then I could not claim to really love you at all. It can be very hard to appreciate how I can be with someone, and yet allow nature take its course in the life of that person. For example, someone gets cancer. It was not I that gave that cancer, or that decided that this person should have cancer. Nature, inheritance, food, patterns of behaviour, etc., has brought about the cancer. My grace builds on nature, it doesn't replace it. In other words, I will not manipulate you, nor will I attempt to manipulate human nature, everyday events, or the passing of time. I am there with you, I am there for you, and I will always be there within you. What I mean is that nothing will ever happen to you that yourself and myself together will not be able to handle.

I am very conscious now, that, in the midst of all your hurts, you certainly don't need some intellectual discussion. You are experiencing the pain of loss, and that is very real, and no amount of reasoning up in the head is going to ease that pain. Life is a whole series of letting-goes. The cord is cut at birth, and this can be followed by post-natal depression, where the system is reacting to a loss. Bereavement is like an amputation, where a limb has been removed. It will be possible to walk again, but certainly not for a while. Time is the great healer for the bereaved. This does not imply forgetting, but continuing to remember. "Do this in memory of me" can spur many a new enterprise for the benefit of others. Quite alot of the groups that help those experiencing bereavement of one kind or another, are made up of people, who, themselves, experienced bereavement, and who felt totally alone in the pain, and had nowhere to turn.

Quite often you may hear the phrase that "Sure it's the will of God". That is not always true. It is not my will that children die of hunger, that the unborn are denied their right to life, or that someone is brutally murdered. It is not my will that a young mother should live with great expectations, only to be faced with a still-birth, or a cot death. It is not my will that someone should be so overcome by life that he should choose to end it, or that some innocent passer-by should get caught in the force of an explosion. I have never planted a bomb or fired a bullet. I have never arranged things so that half the world should be dying of hunger, while the other half is on a diet, trying to lose weight. It was to prevent all this that I came on earth. From that first Christmas night, there continue to be doors and hearts closed to me and to my message. I cry out for witnesses to my message, and for others to heed the witnesses. Because people did not like the message, they have have often shot the messenger. But the message is still the same. There is a spiritual arms-race on for the souls and hearts of people. All I can guarantee is that evil will never succeed, but I need witnesses to show that goodness can triumph over evil

It is obvious that you have lost someone you dearly loved. Please accept the fact that I love that person also, and that my love will continue to safeguard, to hold, and to keep that person from all harm. You wouldn't want that person to be anything but completely happy after death. You would want the fulness of life and happiness, and eternal freedom from hurt or pain, for the one you have lost. I don't mean this as a put-down, but the best way you can continue to express your love is to entrust your beloved one to me, and to my Father's eternal hug. Those who have died, have not gone away; they have simply gone ahead. It is certainly and literally a case of au revoir, and not goodbye. Until you meet again.......... Faith is a response to my love, even when you cannot understand it. Sometimes you can manage nothing more than blind faith, where you just hang in there, and cling to the hope that all will be well. Loss of hope is the one great disaster for the Christian. The falling leaves of Autumn is not a cause of despair, even if it is followed by a harsh bleak winter. You know that spring will come, and all those seeds, now dormant in the ground, will come to life, and all of nature will be born again. In the Bible are the words "There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven." This earth is not your home; you are just passing through. You are part of a pilgrim people, on your way home to the Promised land. Death is like the Red Sea, through which all must pass to enter that land. In the Old Testament, Moses was the leader. Now it I myself who lead you. If you follow me you will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. There will, of course, be dark moments, because life consists of ups and downs, and, until you reach total freedom in death, struggle will always be part of human living. It is in the times of struggle that real growth occurs, and it is in the moment of darkness that you often turn to me with a more open heart.

I want you to listen to the words of the Gospels again. They were not spoken as a once-off for a particular person, at a particular time. The Gospel is now, and you are part of it. In some way or other, you are every person in the Gospel, and the words are spoken now. Despite your hurt, despite your possible anger, confusion, and loneliness, the very fact that you have listened to me thus far is an indication that you might be ready to hear more. Try to hear these words with your heart, so that my Spirit can enter your heart through the words that you hear. "I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full.....I will never abandon you, or leave you alone in the storm....It is not the will of your heavenly Father that any of those entrusted to me should be lost.....Like a woman in labour, you have struggle now.......you have sorrow now, but your sorrow will be turned into joy......In my Father's house there are many mansions...I am going to prepare a place for you...and when I have prepared a place for you, I will come and bring you, so that, where I am, you also will be......You are sad now because I must leave you, but your joy will be great when you see me again.....and your joy no one will take from you....The sin of this world is unbelief in me......Woman, why do you weep?.....Why do you doubt?...I have overcome death....I have put all your enemies under my feet....Your names are registered as citizens of heaven...." "There is so much more that I want to tell you, but you can't bear it now,....but my Spirit of truth will guide you into all truth, and the truth will set you free; and, if the Spirit sets you free, you will be free indeed."

Please notice that I have not asked you not to grieve, not to feel the real sense of loss that is yours. Grief is the price you pay for love, and, if you never want to cry at a funeral, then don't ever love anyone. That thought is repugnant both to you and to me. There is a direct connection between post-natal depression and bereavement, when the cord is cut, or the straps are pulled up out of the grave. The beloved one, who has now gone ahead into the fulness of life, is now all that was intended at the moment of creation, is now all that that person was intended to be. The body is disgarded like the booster rockets of a space shuttle, and can fall back to earth, having completed its purpose. The actual person you knew and loved did not go into a coffin, and the 'remains' were but the empty shell of a rocket that has been launched. Death is not the end. As you look out to sea, you cannot see beyond the horizon, even though you know there is so much more beyond your vision. As you look at the sea, your vision is limited to the surface of the water, even though you are well aware that there are millions of gallons beneath your scope of vision. Faith means living without the proof, but certain that the proof will follow. Faith and certainty cannot co-exist, because if there is certainty there is no need for faith. It is normal, natural, and very human to have a struggle with the whole area of death, whether that be the actual fact, the loss of a loved one, or the inevitability of your own death. Instead of getting too concerned about life after death, I would be really pleased, and you would be greatly blessed, if you switched your concentration to the quality of your life before death. I am more interested in the depth of your life, rather than the length of it. Everybody dies, but not everybody lives. Perhaps, as you work through your present grief process, you will come out the other end with a greater commitment to what is left of your own life. In doing this, your whole life could be totally transformed, because I would have greater freedom to touch others through you, and your beloved one would certainly be there to inspire and encourage you, as you move forward towards the Great Reunion, when you will never have ro say goodbye again.


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