Seeking Comfort

Today I will do something that I never wanted to do–attend the funeral of a teenage boy who took his own life.  He was the son of very dear friends of mine.  My heart aches for him and for his family.  I hate what my friends are going through.  I hate whatever it was that pushed him to this point.   And, I hate that this kind of pain and sorrow are present in our world.

There is so much I don’t understand about God’s plan.  I know that God’s plan isn’t dependent upon my level of understanding which, quite frankly, is good news for all of us.  But, it still can be maddening at times like this when we try to make sense from a situation that seems so senseless.  Part of my own frustration is rooted in control.  When tragedies like this happen, our illusion of control is shattered.  Suddenly, we see and feel how vulnerable and fragile we are. 

In the past few days, two prayers have come to mind that I felt were particularly applicable.  You’ve probably heard both of them before but I hope they speak to you a little differently today.   The first helps remind me that there is so much beyond our control.  Perhaps it can help us all deal with those things in life that don’t make sense.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.
The second prayer came to mind when I was praying for my friends and their son.  I prayed asking God to grant them peace and asking Him to help me to bring that peace to them. 
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love. 
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

St. Paul tells us in Romans 8:38-39,

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things,
nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature
will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I pray that my friends feel God wrap His arms of love around them and His hands carry them through this sorrowful time.  I pray that their son feels God’s love completely in eternal life with Him.  And I pray that we all can be an instrument of peace to their family.


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