How do you comfort


#1

…loved ones who do not wish Christ in their life? Or more to the point, only want His grace and not His cross?

I have a friend, a good, dear friend who lives the average secular life. No real religious views except a smattering of New Age-tinged philosophies here and there. A woman so many of the world would describe as “a good person”.

Her son, beloved to her of course, died suddenly earlier this week.

She is heart-broken. She writes to me that just breathing is too much to bear in the face of this pain, this heartbreak. And I grieve for her…my eyes weep tears and my heart weeps for her, too. I am a mother, too. I know the piece of ourselves that lives forever in the body of our children and I know I would not have the dignity and grace that she now shows should I lose my son.

There are so many things which have brought me comfort during the dark, dark hours of my own times of intense grief. Things that not only comfort, but HEAL, as much as healing occurs on this side of Heaven. Images such as the Pieta, the Divine Mercy, the Agony in the Garden, the foot of the Cross. Meditations on the tragedies in the lives of the saints and their heroic response. Praying, praying, praying the Rosary. Taking the pain and placing it in front of the Real Presence. Daily mass. Daily Eucharist. But she rejects, firmly, all of these things.

What else is there to say? Where else is there to point her toward? What other words to bring comfort? What else has even the tiniest bit of meaning in the face of this type of loss? Who else to understand the crush of her grief but Our Lord and His Mother? The world means nothing, Christ is everything. Without acknowledging Him AND His Cross, there IS no comfort. Know what I mean?

I knew when I converted that I was saying “yes” to having my life changed forever, praise God. I even knew that I would most likely lose friends and even family. But to feel so helpless to comfort this woman, who loves me “despite” my “crazy religion phase” is awful.

Advice?


#2

Soblessed…

God has put this woman in your life and drawn her to you during this time of grief for a reason. Don’t worry that she currently rejects the aspects of faith that comfort you… When God sees that a good person needs love and that person won’t come to Him for that love, He often sends her another person who will be God’s love to her. And that’s you! Just by being there for her, supporting her, listening to her—you are allowing God’s love to reach her. It’s probably not going to convert her right now, but you don’t know what this time will imprint on her mind for the years to come. She knows that you love God and are strong in your Faith, and when she looks back and sees what a true, comforting friend you are to her, she might start to wonder if there’s something about that Faith you love that makes you the way you are. You are planting seeds right now.

So, my advice is just to listen to and support her, not trying to press the Faith upon her. I imagine you probably bring God into your conversation with many people naturally, so go ahead and bring up God and His love whenever it comes naturally to you. If it makes her upset, then just go quiet and comfort her in other ways. If she just doesn’t respond, continue to refer to God when it feels right. Just show her a good example and be the loving friend I’m sure you are. Even just silently being with her will probably do so much good. When someone is hurting that much, often presence comforts more than words.

And most importantly, pray, pray, pray behind the scenes. Pray to Our Lady and St. Monica to assist you in knowing what to say when it’s not upsetting your friend. Before every time you talk to your friend, pause and say a brief prayer in your mind: “Your words, Jesus, not mine.” That way, if He wants something said in that conversation, He will just bring the words out of your mouth. It’s really not up to you.

I hope that helps.
~Kristleful


#3

Ecclesiates 3 “For every thing there is a season” This is your friend’s time to grieve. Grief includes a period of anger also depression.

We are hopeless when something like this happens to our friends. You can help by being there. If you get her to spend 15 minutes with you before she retreats to her room, you’ll have accomplished a lot. Just be there. Listen even if she rants against God. Do her shopping if necessary…whatever.

There’s a woman who hosts a show on EWTN her first name is Johnette. She too lost a son and then her husband. She a writer. She may have written something on her grief. Might be handy to have when the time comes.


#4

kristleful: you are sooo right, of course. I’m afraid, in my desire to DO something, I’ve forgotten that I can’t DO anything WITHOUT Him. Indeed, as you have so rightly pointed out, even what I do is from Him.

aicirt: Yes, Johnette Benkowich (sp?)–The Abundant Life. I had forgotten that she lost a son, thank you for reminding me. And I didn’t know she lost her husband. I am so, so sorry.

My friend just lost her husband, as well. Not to death, but to his own desire to stay in an adulterous affair. So, she has been through such a wringer.

Thank you, thank you guys! I needed those powerful reminders to let go and let God :thumbsup:


#5

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