The Gift of Loss
What is the gift at the heart of suffering? It is the strength we discover within ourselves which enables us to work through the pain of loss to the waiting sight of God's loving, compassionate face. It is the glimpse of the eternal we suddenly see with the eyes of our hearts, where death is no more, nor loss; where all pain ceases and our souls vibrate with unimaginable joy. It is the revelation of ourselves to ourselves as people of God capable of hitherto undreamt-of tenderness and love. It is the moment when, miraculously, we feel ourselves at one with The Divine Mystery, with no questions to ask, because there are no answers we need. It is the surprising and beautiful discovery that the soul can accommodate grief and joy at one and the same time: that we can be bowed down with sorrow when the sight of a snowdrop bravely pushing its fragile beauty through the frozen earth can become a prayer of gratitude on our lips. Suffering gifts us with a strong sense of God in others, in their embraces, in their restoration of laughter to our lives when we thought laughter had left our lives for good; in their strong, generous arms which carry us and our weight of loss until we are ready to make it on our own.
Suffering, fully confronted, pares us down to our very essence, down to our unaccommodated selves. Washed up on an empty shore, we are the bare bleached bones of our former corporeal reality. Protective walls have tumbled to the ground; material comforts have all dissolved. But then when we least expect it a gentle light shines in the darkness. Just as we can be " unexpectedly ambushed by grief," as John O'Donohue puts it, we can unexpectedly find ourselves enveloped in the warm embrace of the God of Love and hear His whispered reassurance that all will be well.
Only those who drink deep from the well of suffering can reach the clear beautiful waters waiting for them below. Those who cannot break the surface ,according to the poet, David White,
"will never know the source from which we drink,
the secret water, cold and clear,
nor find in the darkness glimmering
the small round coins
thrown by those who wished for something else".
7th September 2017 Gaps
20th June 2017 "Love is not loved."
25th April 2017 I Hope You Dance
21st March 2017 From Darkness to Dawn
27th October 2016 The Bright Field
27th June 2016 The Enemy Within
31st May 2016 The Little Way to The Almighty
25th January 2016 Love Immeasurable
11th November 2015 Letting Go
21st May 2015 The Gift of Loss
6th May 2015 Walls
24th November 2014 Leaning into Winter
24th October 2014 Crossing the Road
25th June 2014 Fetters of the Soul
30th April 2014 The Power of Gratitude
10th March 2014 The Darkling Thrush
11th February 2014 Spring
10th February 2014 Masks
3rd February 2014 Dancing in the Wind
21st January 2014 Chains of nostalgia
13th January 2014 Forgiving wrongs darker than death or night
7th January 2014 Singing out Loud
17th December 2013 CHRISTMAS FOUND
9th December 2013 Withering into the Truth
2nd December 2013 The Celtic Prayer Garden
25th November 2013 Missing Dates
18th November 2013 NEARER GOD’S HEART
12th November 2013 Night
27th April 2010 Healing God
25th November 2009 Our Poverty
1st September 2009 Which of the two tigers will win the fight?
1st June 2009 Be your own role model
25th May 2009 The Feast of the Ascension of the Lord
18th May 2009 Power of the real presence
7th May 2009 "Lessons I did not learn in School" - by Bill Gates
20th April 2009 JESUS RISES FROM THE DEAD
30th March 2009 The Long Walk to Freedom
23rd March 2009 Become a Friend
16th March 2009 Ireland in Identity Crisis?
9th March 2009 Love to Pray
2nd March 2009 Life - Giving Words
16th February 2009 Exclusion Policy
9th February 2009 Somewhere the Child
2nd February 2009 The Conversion of St Paul
12th January 2009 Thomas Merton, "Thoughts in Solitude"
22nd December 2008 A Christmas Parable by Louis Cassels
15th December 2008 Work – from In the heart of the Temple by Sr Joan Chittister
8th December 2008 Am I at home when the doorbell rings?
1st December 2008 Street Corner Christ
17th November 2008 How Did I Get This Busy?
10th November 2008 A Homily for The Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica – 9th November 2008
3rd November 2008 John O’Donohue taken from “Benedictus - A Book of Blessings”
27th October 2008 Charles Peguy 1873-1914, French poet and politician
20th October 2008 The following is an extract from a talk given by Bishop George Lungu of Chipata in Zambia in Africa, to the synod of Bishops being held in Rome this month.
13th October 2008 Excerpt from ‘A Door of Hope’ by Jean Vanier
6th October 2008 A Reflection on Matthew's Gospel 21:28-32
29th September 2008 The Daily Decalogue of Pope John XXIII