Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Loss of a Loved One, Giving Spiritual Direction, and The Seven Sorrows of Mary

A few months ago, I gave spiritual direction at an Ultreya for the first time since Kevin and I went through the Spiritual Direction Institute (SDI).  I was actually pretty excited since I'd served in every other role at Ultreyas with the exception of that one.  The woman giving the witness talk has been a friend of our family for many years.  She told me she was going to speak on the Seven Sorrows of Mary and asked if I thought it would be an appropriate topic in the middle of Advent.  

I said definitely!  I could think of a number of people who were facing their first holiday season without a loved one.  It's hard navigating those first few months not knowing when you'll be knocked over while riding the waves of grief

Here’s how I began my spiritual direction reflection that evening:  “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” we hear over and over again during the Advent and Christmas seasons.  Well, for some it’s a difficult period to get through, especially if it’s the first holidays since a loved one has passed away.  I know I tend to think of my dad and grandparents who have passed away when our family gathers.   

Over the holidays, many people concern themselves with buying gifts for people.  In fact, some get really caught up in that aspect of getting ready instead of concentrating on spiritual preparation.  What does God want for the holidays and all holy days?  He wants the best we have to offer!

What greater or more perfect gift can we offer the Lord than Jesus Christ Himself?

I’ve gotten in the habit of praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for a person when I find out they are near death or have already entered into the next life.  One of the prayers exemplifies the best gift we can give God: “Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and the Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins, and those of the whole world.”

I also shared with the Cursillistas gathered a prayer I know in both English and French that is perfect for devoting all we have and are to the Blessed Mother.  The following is an excerpt from the Act of Consecration to Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom, by the Hands of Mary by St. Louis de Montfort: “In the presence of all the heavenly court, I choose thee this day for my Mother and Queen. I deliver and consecrate to thee, as thy slave, my body and soul, my goods, both interior and exterior, and even the value of all my good actions, past, present, and future; leaving to thee the entire and full right of disposing of me and all that belongs to me, without exception, according to thy good pleasure, for the greater glory of God, in time and eternity.”

Christ’s Passion (a great sorrow) leads to Our Eternal Salvation (our greatest joy)

With deep love can come piercing sorrow and profound joy.

Reflection: How has the Lord used one of your sorrows to bring you and/or others closer to Him?

My Prayer: Lord, please open our hearts and minds to the ways in which dealing with sorrow and grief can help bring us closer to You and one another. Amen.
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