Years ago, a music teacher of mine repeated that often. I found that it works when reading Sacred Scripture. Many in our Church pray the OFFICE OF READINGS daily. Dolores and I have prayed those prayers since seminary formation.
I am constantly amazed at how the Holy Spirit works to awaken scripture for the reader. Last week I read a meditation written by St. Leo the Great on the Beatitudes. Those readings are familiar yet, it took 40 years to get my attention on this verse:
“Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.”
I have always associated that beatitude with grief, loss and separation. I really had missed the point. It has little to do with worldly distresses. St. Leo said “being sorrowful over losses does not make one blessed”. Grief over the death of a family member or good friend is a normal part of living and our emotional growth and maturing. It is also an opportunity to become more open to the Grace of God in our lives and accept His Grace that supports us through that particular crisis. It is a normal and usual human reaction.
The mourning we suffer that grieves the loss of others is what makes one Blessed. I had never seen, heard or read that approach to mourning before: Where, when or why I had missed that only God knows. It opened an entirely new view of spiritual mourning for me.
When one mourns the poor, homeless, immigrants in fear and loneliness, those affected by hurricanes and victims of mass shootings we are then Blessed Mourners. Religious grief is Blessed when we are sorrowful for our sins and the sins of others. It mourns for all that is done by human malice.
To differentiate; victims of a sinful act receive the Grace of God and are raised up. The sinner’s act is mourned and prayed for as an act of compassion. Paul asks us to “pick up the suffering of Christ”. When we pray for those in mourning, we are not only companions in the human suffering but lifting up our prayer spiritually make us “Blessed”. This occurs not only in prayer but most of the time it happens as we become present to them in their suffering.
Cursillo has moments “close to Christ”. When I read that teaching it became two significant moments for me: One is that it quieted the temptation I have to stop reading the daily “Office” which has been a problem due to repetition, but I was able to go back and say that the most peaceful and serene part of my day is prayer time. Second, it helps me to pray for special problems on my prayer list and if they are not answered it can be a sorrowful time. I can now turn those issues over to the Lord and in my heart know that not only is He in charge, but my personal mourning is not lost.
How may we apply these principles to our daily living as Cursillistas on our journey to God? First, we should not stop reading and praying Sacred Scripture and daily prayers because they are boring. Second, we need to ask God for aid in making the messages of Scripture more aware to us and to open our eyes for His messages. Third, we need to remember St. Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians 1 5:17” Pray constantly” and remember he also wrote “scripture is alive and the living word of God”.
St. Vincent de Paul tells us: “we must try to be concerned over our neighbor’s distress and sympathize with them fully as in St. Paul’s letter to Hebrews ‘we must become all things to all people.’ “ I try to see Christ in the mourning and grieving. Sometimes that may be very difficult but to do it is a reward in itself.
Dn John Salchert