January 12, 2016
Bringing Comfort to Those
on a Rolling, Painful Journey
Burying the dead is the only one of the Corporal Works of Mercy not named in the parable of the sheep and the goats – “When I was hungry you gave me food. . . .” It comes from the book of Tobit: “If I saw any of my nation dead, or cast around the walls of Nineveh, I buried him” (Tobit 1:17). “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:36–55 (Diocese of Milwaukee).
“Grief is a rolling, painful journey with stops and starts and no discernable end. While no one “gets over” a death, those we love can grow through the grief. No two people grieve in the same way, and remembering that and resisting comparisons will help us support those we love.
It is in the weeks and months after the funeral when our support can mean the most. A daily phone call or email just to let the grieving person know we care can be a boost in a painful day. We can include a grieving person in lunch, dinner or other plans. At the end of the meal, I can make plans to meet my friend for coffee, giving him/her something to look forward to.
I can ignore my own discomfort with their sorrow and really listen while a grieving person shares the loss in her/his life. A touch on the arm or shoulder, a hug and careful listening help the person know how much we are present to them.”
Visit Creighton University for more ways to rediscover the corporal works of mercy.
Year of Mercy Calendar for Today: Supply a dish for a funeral.