Today’s Bible reading
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.–Matthew 5:4
Thoughts for meditation
Francis Weller continues The Wild Edge of Sorrow by describing grief rituals, both solitary and communal, to help us work with our grief. I encourage you to take some time on your own to read through them. As he concludes the book, he describes how our grieving can be sacred ground, and how it is like working through darkness. “This art of loss is tempering of a soul,” he says, “a gradual deepening that prepares us for our own inevitable leaving. This work thins us, making the inner aspects of our lives more transparent to others.” Weller then describes grief as a “nighttime” where we experience little deaths along the way (“a friendship ends, a business venture folds, or the inevitable changes we encounter in our aging body”), deaths we can choose to respond to. “At times,” he says, “by letting an old patter die, we enter into a larger encounter of being alive.” In these times, we can “befriend darkness” and use that space to “metabolize sorrow.”
Through all this work, we will eventually get to a letting go of sorts. Weller says, “Working with grief keeps us present, ensuring that the sorrows of our lifetime have been touched and acknowledged and that they are no longer dragging us backward into our history. These stories of our life have a gravitational pull that will demand that we address the unfinished business that lingers there. It is essential that we keep these stories in front of us, becoming fully conscious of them and sharing them with others. Only in this way can their weight draw us into the world and further into life.” This is what the beatitude means when it says blessed are those who mourn. When we continue to work with our grief we are drawn further into life. We can continue to go down to the river of grief in our lifetime, and come back up nourished.
Suggestions for action
Pray the beautitude above as a breath prayer for several minutes.
Inhale: Blessed are those who mourn
Exhale: For they shall be comforted
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