Yesterday, the feast of All Souls, 2 November 2020, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin lead a prayer service in remembrance of the dead and the bereaved in the Pro-Cathedral Dublin.
During a reflection at the service, the Archbishop of Dublin shared his own experience of grief. He said, “The Christian Message is a message of life. For the believer, death is not the end. With physical death, our life is transformed and we enter into a new life, in eternal loving presence with God.
“Even with faith, however, that is not how we humanly encounter death. I remember well the funeral and burial of my own mother on this day, All Souls Day, 1974. My mother had died unexpectedly just as our family was preparing for the death of my father who was terminally ill. Our reaction was shock, sadness and grief. We went through the mechanics of funeral preparations in a daze. We went from the funeral of my mother to the hospital to visit my dying father. We were simply numb with shock, grief and uncertainty.”
He continued, “Grief challenges us to relearn our faith. It is never a question of ignoring or burying grief or failing to recognise that sense of loss and abandonment. In faith however hope returns.
“In this month of November, we remember those who were dear to us and who have died. In some cases, the memory is a recent one. There is always a first time that we visit the grave of a loved one. The intensity of grief is at its sharpest. With the passage of time, grief diminishes, but grief never goes away.”
In conclusion, Archbishop Martin said, “The Christian message is a message of life. It is a message not of emptiness but of meaning. In this month of November we remember our deceased loved ones. Their departure grieves us but in faith we know that our faithful God calls them to be with him. Their goodness and love remain. Having been nourished in this life at the breaking of the bread of the Eucharist, they are now united with Christ in an eternity of love and fulfilment. Eternal rest grant to them. May we experience their intercession from above and may we experience the consolation and hope that come to us in faith.”