Death is only an Horizon
We give them back to you, O Lord, who first gave them to us; and as you did not lose them in the giving so we do not lose them in the return. Not as the world gives do you give O Lord. For what is yours is ours also, if we belong to you. Life is unending because love is undying and the boundaries of this life are but an horizon and an horizon is but the limit of our vision. Lift us up, strong Son of God, that we may see further. Strengthen our faith that we may see beyond the horizon. And while you prepare a place for us as you have promised, prepare us also for that happy place; that where you are we may be also, with those we have loved, forever.
Bede Jarett, O.P.
Peace at Last
May the Lord support us all the day long; till the shades lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over and our work is done. Then in his mercy, may he give us a safe lodging, a holy rest, and peace at last. Amen
Gone only from our sight
I am standing on the seashore. Suddenly a ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts out for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch her until at length she is only a ribbon of white cloud just above where the sea and sky mingle with each other. Then someone at my side says: "There! She's gone!" Gone where?
Gone from my sight – that is all. She is just as large in mast and hull as she was when she left my side and just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of destination. Her diminished size is in me, not in her and just at the moment when someone at my side says: "There! She's gone!" there are other voices ready to greet her with a glad shout: "There! She comes!"And that is dying.
One night a man had a dream. He dreamt that he was walking along a beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed the scenes of his life. For each scene he noticed not one, but two sets of footprints in the sand. He understood immediately that one belonged to him and the other to the Lord. But then he noticed a curious thing. At the lowest and saddest times in his life there was only one set of footprints. This bothered him and so he asked the Lord: "How come that during the most difficult times in my life, the very times when I most needed you, you left me on my own?"
Then the Lord replied: "My friend, during your trials and sufferings when you see only one set of footprints, those footprints are mine. It was then that I carried you.
Reflection Grief (John O’Donohue)
Though the silent weeping of your heart lessens, you get on, more or less, with your life; a place is kept within you for the one who is gone. No other will ever be given the key to that door. As the
years go on you may not remember the departed every day with your conscious mind. Yet below your surface mind, some part of you is always in their presence.
From their side, our friends in the unseen world are always secretly embracing us in their new and bright belongings. Though we may forget them, they can never forget us; their secret embrace unknowingly shelters and minds us.
The bright moment in grief is when the sore absence gradually changes into a well of presence. You become aware of the subtle companionship of the departed one. You know that when you are in trouble, you can turn to this presence beside you and draw on it for encouragement and blessing.
The departed is now no longer restricted to any one place and can be with you any place you are. It is good to know the blessings of this presence.
All say: May the Lord support us all the day long ‘til the shades lengthen and the evening comes and the busy world is hushed and the fever of life is done.
Then in his mercy may He grant us a safe lodging, a holy rest and peace at the last. Amen. (Cardinal Newman)
Stranger at our side
All through life's day our risen Lord walks with us. Often, however, he is a stranger to us, for he never forces himself upon us. Before the day's end, we will ask many questions, experience many failures, disappointments and heartaches. And then, suddenly, whether we are young, middle aged or old, we will find that the shadows are lengthening and night is fast approaching. In that moment we pray that, like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, our eyes will be opened and that we will recognise him – the stranger who walked at our side – as our risen Lord. And he will not vanish from our sight. Instead he will guide us through the dark valley of death to the safety of the Father's house.