Grief will become joy

A portion of the Gospel from today’s Mass (Friday, Sixth week of Easter – after Ascension Thursday) is familiar to anyone who has grieved over the loss of a loved one:

John 16:20-22

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn,
while the world rejoices;
you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.
When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived;
but when she has given birth to a child,
she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy
that a child has been born into the world.
So you also are now in anguish.

Grief is like a crucible, or a wine press, through which something new is made. You were a certain way before the person died, now that one is gone and is no more. You have to create a “new normal” out of the wreckage of the old life. You need to accommodate a life that no longer contains the loved one anymore, and never will (at least not until our Heavenly reunion). Grief is an anguishing pain that cannot be avoided if you are to successfully heal and establish that “new normal”. It is a pain that you need to move through rather than around. Moving through it is the anguish and the agony of the loss. It is also the healing.

Out of your grief will come an eventual joy. How long, is unknown. It is different for each person. It is not the joy, however, of those who have never lost anyone to death. It is the joy of someone who, through the loss of a beloved to death, has become closer to God because death connects you to Eternity. Before it was an abstraction. Now it is a reality, a distinct place where someone you loved now (hopefully) is. Death is now a passageway, or perhaps a companion, to Eternal life.

Be not afraid.

(NOTE: This has essentially little to do with the primary purpose of this blog, namely, to learn to live a sober life guided by the Catholic Faith and its spirituality. But I have been to enough grief supoport groups to realize that grief is often the trigger that initiates the development of alcoholism, or is the cause of a relapse. I know, I seriously wanted a drink, daily and hourly, after my Mom died over 18 months ago. But I didn’t. So from time to time I will write about grief.)

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"