A Time to Grieve



I think one of the most challenging things for a person who has an apologetical mind is to console a friend or loved one in a time of distress. When a person experiences a tragedy, they don’t want to know the nature of God. They don’t want to know the purpose of Christ’s mission. They don’t ask “why so much evil if God is good?” and they don’t want to hear “God brings good out of evil”.

They ask the question “why did my little Susie get shot?” - “why did my wife get cancer?” - “why did my brother get killed by a drunk driver?” - “why me!?!”.

It is at these times that an apologist must stop being an apologist and be Christ to them. Be there as a shoulder to lean on. Bring a big box of tissues and sit and listen. Weep with them! If they will listen, you may say “God loves you”, but if they can’t accept that, then let it be. Offer to run some errands, or cook them a meal. And after that, sit down and listen some more.

As it says in Ecclesiastes, every thing as its time and a time for everything. There is a time for apologetics and a time for being a friend. :slight_smile:


TO the apoligist. Part of the way you frame your apology is to try to understand the other, and try to met the person at that point. Indulgences for example, you might want to handle in different ways depending on if one is atheist or baptist.

I think one thing I’ve been noticing is you really need to take note and remember the 5 stages: denial, anger, barganing, depression, and acceptance. Really take note and observe. While you might be wanting to deal with the issue as one who is in acceptance, you cannot go there if the person isn’t there at the time. A person might really have to work those feelings out on their own, but it is nice to have someone there, who will listen, maybe point, but doesn’t seem judgemental, or who will tell you what to think. In the end, they’ll probably remembered who cared. If you seemed solid and grounded, they might really be open to you, especially if they need someone to help them though to understand, once the person has accepted the situation.

The best apology of any apologist ought to be how that apoligist lives his life.


You’re so right.

It is a big challenge.

What makes it even more challenging is I am one of the ones who has endured trauma. My little son drowned last year. When I try to help others who have lost children, it only seems natural to “show” them what seems so obvious and joyous to me–that God’s plan is perfect. You’re right, they often don’t care to hear that. I personally would be angry if Gabriel’s death was NOT part of God’s plan. That would rob it of any goodness or purpose. That knowledge is what gives me peace and joy above lingering sadness. I find I am rare, however. It is difficult to try to share that joy with bereaved families who can’t see it. It is hard to comfort them knowing that I was only able to process Gabriel’s death in the light of God’s providence, but they can’t see it. It feels like my hands are tied. I want so much for them to see. I know from experience the peace that defies understanding. I actually feel a little frustrated just thinking about it.

On the flip side, our “joy” in a time of obvious distress is a powerful witness to those who can see it.

Paul says that we are not to grieve as the unbelievers who have no hope.



You know, when I wasn’t so busy with school, I was able to do a rosary everyday. (Always feel bad, I have a hard time getting into that routine.) Jumping from the joyful mysteries, to sorrowful, and glory, really impressed upon me, the ebb and flow of joy and sorrow.

If anything brings so much joy, it can bring the same sorrow. It would seem the sorrow could lead you into being jaded, but once you see how the glory works, it really shows such a beautiful picture. Anything that brings sorrow, isn’t so bad. The sorrow really shows you the preciousness of things. And it is sorrowful to see one leaving, but the sorrow shows you the greatness of life.

That idea has brought me through some adverse times for me. But I think it can also help you with others too. You might need to understand how God fits into the situation and be grounded in that. If your unhinged yourself, you’ll have a hard time being that person who is there for the other during those times.

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