This is the second in a series of meditations on each of the Beatitudes.
Blessed are they that mourn, for they will be comforted.
I’ve got to admit, I wanted to have this up two days ago. However, I ended up typing out the Beatitude, staring at it, and wondering: what’s so great about mourning? I kept thinking about Aunt Sarah’s funeral. We kept saying it was wonderful that she was finally with God, at rest. Why is mourning a blessing?
So, I took advantage of a great technological advancement (which I highly recommend). I pulled up the Bible online and searched for the word “mourn.” I think this is a great way to get more information on a topic because you can literally see every instance the word is mentioned in the Bible. I know that sometimes a particular word isn’t used, so it’s not a definitive topical resource, but it’s pretty awesome!
For the word “mourn,” the #3 result was quite enlightening…
And the Lord said to Samuel: How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, whom I have rejected from reigning over Israel? –1 Samuel 16:1a
Ah-ha! I kept thinking of mourning as being about death. However, what if mourning isn’t about death, but about loss and love?
Samuel didn’t mourn because Saul was dead (he wasn’t), he mourned because he loved Saul. He believed in Saul’s ability to lead Israel as God’s chosen King. However, because Saul chose to defy God, Saul was lost to Samuel. Samuel saw someone he loved turn his back on God. He watched Saul’s life spiral out of control.
Sound familiar? I’ve watched people I love deny God, renounce their faith, turn to drugs, consume themselves with chasing after wealth and other pleasures. As we go down separate paths, my heart aches. I mourn.
To mourn a loss, you have to love. There are no two ways about it. I certainly don’t mourn the loss of the job I hated or the apartment that was too small. Not all loss is mourned. It’s only when we are attached to someone that we mourn their exit from our lives, in whatever form that exit takes. When we mourn, it means we opened ourselves up, loved someone, believed in their potential, wanted the very best for them. We mourn because we’ve lost someone we held close to our heart.
This is why those who mourn are blessed. Because they have loved and hoped and believed despite the fact that the one they held so dear could and would be lost. You can never really lose what you haven’t loved. For those who open their hearts up, dare to love, see the best and greatest in another, even though they know they could very possibly be cast aside; when the one they loved and believed in chooses to walk away, they will be comforted.