Blessed and Mourning
I am blessed. I know this is true. You know who Jesus said was blessed? Those who mourn. Those who are persecuted. Those who are poor. Those hunger and thirst.
Today I am feeling the sting of the Beatitudes. While the whole nation stands and reads and watches and listens in shock at the events in CT, my family is in shock for an additional reason: my cousin Jonathan died yesterday in a terrible car accident. Of course, the news from CT is horrible, and it deeply saddens me. My cousin dying is personal, and a great weight for my family on top of my brother’s death just months ago. ( in fact, the last time I spoke with Jonathan was at Ben’s funeral.)
Of course, while tragedy is shocking, deep down it should not be surprising. We know that in the world we will have trouble. Christ told us so much. We know that to be Christian means to suffer in many ways that we cannot predict. Knowing all that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with our troubles. Some times it very much does feel like we’re as bad off as Job. My grandfather lost 1/4 of his grandchildren this year, grandchildren he expected to predecease.
But “Take Courage!” Christ commands us, for he has conquered the world! Those who mourn are blessed because there will be gladness in heaven. Those who are persecuted are blessed for they will triumph with Christ in heaven. By his cross and resurrection Christ conquered the world, and we live in that world but are not of it: in hope we wait for the day when our body is raised and glorified and forever we sing God’s praises in heaven. Courage has been described as not the lack of fear, but the knowledge that something else is more important than fear. So in courage we face the world, fearing death and the sorrows to come, but knowing that the good to come is so much more important. To be raised, we must die. For glory, we must first suffer. For Easter, we must have Good Friday.
I am so sad that Good Friday came so soon for Jonathan.
“For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”