This isn’t the sort of thing we usually hear at a funeral these days, but perhaps it should be. At the funeral of his father, St. Gregory Nazianzen tells his mother that the true Christian bears the loss of a loved one with fortitude because he knows that the separation is only for a short time.
Does the feeling of separation cause you pain? Let hope cheer you.
Is widowhood sorrowful to you? It is not to him.
And what is the good of love, if it gives itself easy things, and assigns the harder things to its neighbor?
And why should it be sorrowful at all to one who will soon pass away? The appointed day is coming. The pain will not last long.
Let us not by ignoble arguments make a burden out of what is really light. We have endured a great loss, because we enjoyed a great privilege. Loss is common to all, but such a privilege comes to few. Let us rise above the one thought by the consolation of the other. For it is more reasonable that the better thought should win.
With a brave and Christian spirit, you have borne the loss of children who were still in the prime of life. Now also bear it when one who was weary of life lays aside his aged body, although his strong mind preserved his senses undiminished.
Are you annoyed at being admonished? I praise you for it. You yourself have admonished many whom your long life has brought to your notice. What I have said cannot really apply to you, who are so truly wise. But let it be a medicine to console mourners in general, so that they may know that they are mortals following mortals to the grave. –St. Gregory Nazianzen, Funeral Oration on His Father, 43IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
Grief is natural, but when I suffer a loss, does my grief give way to real faith in the promise of the resurrection?
Lord our God, give peace to all the souls who have fallen asleep in Jesus, remembering every one of my loved ones who has gone before me, and all the holy women and men who have shown me the way to salvation.
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