Over the past weeks, these words that Jesus spoke in His Beatitudes have resounded ever so clearly in my heart and in my mind – “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.”

I know I’m not the only one who has prayed, wept, and felt the anguish, pain and distress of the two Maronite families faced with the sudden loss of their 4 beloved children in a tragic accident. I pray that these families will find their consolation in knowing their little ones are now ‘living’ those words of Christ, promised in the Beatitudes, in the presence of the Righteous and the Just.

Recent tragedies across Australia and around the world have made us more aware of the plight of so many families needing assistance, comfort, and support of every kind. The struggles and heartaches endured by victims of fire, drought, floods, oppression, famine, homelessness, etc. are clearly seen by all who have access to media coverage. What about the distressing situations which are not so apparent, happening on a daily basis behind closed doors, hidden in the dark nights of loneliness and abandonment? Isn’t it sad that we tend to contemplate ‘eternity’ only when struck with the reality of our human losses, rather than living each day in preparation for, and in the hope of, eternal life with God?

Being a Christian in today’s world means being radical, and that’s what I’ve learned from following Christ – to be radical. Developing a personal and intimate relationship with God has helped me to become a better guide for those placed under my care, and to persevere in faith where others may doubt or when the odds seem against me. Yes, there were many times in the past, before I ‘knew God’ when I too asked that question, directed to God “where are you?” In the darkest times of grief and sorrow we are blinded by our tears and entangled in our pain. We’ve heard it often said that there is no greater grief than that of losing one’s child. I have learned that there is a far greater grief – that of losing one’s soul. These precious and innocent ones, pure of heart, are destined to see God in all His Glory and to rejoice with the angels and saints in Heaven….are we on that same path? Must I wait to hear of death, or terminal illness, to give time to meditating on the Four Last Things of Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell?

We’ve heard it often said that there is no greater grief than that of losing one’s child. I have learned that there is a far greater grief – that of losing one’s soul.

When I asked God, “Where are you? Why are you letting this happen to me? Why can’t you fix this? Why have you abandoned me” and so on, I had no response. I knew the darkness of despair in those times, many years ago. I felt that God did not love me enough, because He was allowing tragedies to happen in my life that threw me into utter desolation. I was wrong. God was not the source of my grief, as I learned in time. We, His children, are the reason for so many tragedies in life because of the choices we make and the temptations we succumb to. It wasn’t God’s Hand that abused an innocent young child….it wasn’t God’s Hand steering the wheel of a drunk driver….God was not the arsonist lighting bushfires or a gun in the hands of a terrorist – it was the enemy at work within a blinded soul too weak to fight the challenges of temptation, of believing their own self-worth, of trying to fill the emptiness in their own dismal lives.

I knew the darkness of despair in those times, many years ago.

It is normal to ask, “where is God in the midst of grief”? I’ll tell you where He is: hanging on the Cross, shedding His tears and blood for us. He is in the Tabernacle and on the Altar, offering His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity for us, perpetually. He is embracing the mothers and fathers of all accident victims trying to console their broken hearts. He is in the bunkers of refugees, giving them hope to live.

He is in the centre of all grief, for His Love and Mercy seek our grief in order to give us consolation. If this is where I find God, in the midst of grief and suffering, then I pray all will find Him there, granting hope and strength to all those who mourn. May His Mercy and Love shine forth through the darkness of their grief and illuminate their hearts with the Hope of the Resurrection.

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