Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
In Jesus’ day mourning was serious business. People suffering loss or some inner wound would go out into the streets and tear at their clothing. They would scream and weep in agony. They would gather a handful of dirt and pour it over their heads and let it mingle in their tears. It was a sign of their connection with their mortality, their belonging to the earth where sorrow breeds. They would wrap themselves in the arms of others. They didn’t lose themselves in mindless work or distract themselves in foolish activity. Grieving hurt. Mourning meant something. And I think what Jesus is saying here is: be open to the wounds of the world and to your own. Mourn the hurting of people and when you yourself hurt. Weep over the suffering of humanity and your suffering, too. Don’t hide from it. Don’t attempt to chase it away with meaningless clichés or empty escapes. Feel it and be moved. We are to mourn the deaths of those we love. We are to mourn the damaging choices we have made. We are to grieve when we have hurt others, intentionally or not. Let us mourn when our love is not enough; when our health fails; when our finances collapse; when the marriage ends; when relationships sour. Catholic mystic, Richard Rohr, writes, “Jesus praises the weeping class, those who can enter into solidarity with the pain of the world and not try to extract themselves from it.” And the comfort? That comes in facing our calamities, in being real, in raging against the darkness of loss, in accepting our guilt, in being overwhelmed by the sometimes senselessness of life. Comfort arrives in crying alone sometimes, and in crying with someone else. It comes in owning our pain and in releasing the hurt and in sharing the hurt. ~ TM