A Season to Mourn
“There is a season for everything…a time for everything…a time for tears, a mourning” -Ecclesiastes 3:1
“Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow” -Lamentations 1:12
Tuesday morning, September 4, I began once more reading a meditation on the Book of Lamentations. This is a custom I have of yearly reading this book since the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Little did I realize that this Scripture reading would become a tragic reality for the community and myself. My friend, brother-priest, my often “sparring-partner” in lively discussions of theology and Scripture, Fr. Pavlo suddenly was called into eternal life.
The Book of Lamentations is a very short Old Testament work. It has been described as being “a deep wound of grief, a whirlpool of sorrow”. It is attributed to the Prophet Jeremiah. He and his community weep and lament over the horrific loss of loved ones and the city of Jerusalem.
This book is largely ignored in the worship services of Christian communities. Can it be that we want to avoid dealing with the raw emotions of losing loved ones?
There are no answers in this book – you will find no pious words. God is silent. But, He is present, His presence is quite often most with us when He is hidden in a cloud of silence The world was recently stunned at the re-cent disclosure of the struggles Blessed Theresa of Calcutta had with God. She wrote of a half-century of living in spiritual darkness, emptiness, and experiencing the absence of God. This experience is known as the Dark Night of the Soul. This is part of our spiritual journey.
I turn again to the words of the Lamentations. They enable me to cry out, and to even clench my fist at God. All this is part of legitimate prayer. I will find no answers here…God is silent. I believe in a God who weeps with me. I do not ask Him questions.
The Book teaches me that the grief I have for my friend Pavlo is part of my spiritual formation. Mourning is the dark journey that will lead us to spiritual growth.
Blessed is the path you are now taking, Pavlo, a place of rest has been prepared for you.