This morning I was waiting in the St. Francis Church for all the family to arrive for their mother’s funeral. A 9-year old granddaughter named, Grace, approached the casket of her mawmaw. I tried to see her reaction—many times, young children are frightened by the sight of a deceased person. But this child had a smile on her face, as if she was glad to see a living mawmaw in front of her.
Many of us have lost our loved ones and experienced grieving. One of the most difficult things we face after our loved one dies is letting go of the way we used to relate to the person. We still long for that person’s physical touch, audible words, and comforting presence.
Mary Magdalene faced such letting go. Her eyes had been swelled with endless tears since that day on the Calvary. She longed to be with her friend and teacher Jesus, like she used to. Even when Jesus actually appeared to her, she could not recognize him because of her sorrow and tears. And this happens to us too. We are not able to recognize the signs that our deceased loved ones are sending because of our sorrow and sadness. When she finally recognized Him, she wanted to cling to Him. But Jesus could not stay in this life for He had not completed His mission. He could not stay, and He had to go to His Father so that His children could go to the Father. Out of love Jesus emptied Himself so that we could have life forever in union with the Father.
The 9 year old girl, Grace, said something profound to her parents when she found out that her mawmaw died. Her mawmaw died on Good Friday. And the little girl said, “She died on a special day.” She knew that in someway, that her mawmaw shared something special with Jesus—suffering and death. But Jesus wants us to see in His suffering on the Cross not the enormity of pain, but His unfathomable love for us.
Jesus said to St. Faustina, “Do not be absorbed in your misery—you are still too weak to speak of it—but, rather, gaze on My Heart filled with goodness, and be imbued with My sentiments…be merciful to others, as I am to you; and, when you feel your strength failing, if you come to the fountain of mercy to fortify your soul, you will not grow weary on your journey.