How Can I Console Someone Grieving
Only the truth is what brings true peace
The Devil Wants to Make Us Liars
It is terribly hard to truly love someone in their moment of grieving. The evil one pulls on our hearts of love trying hard to get us to console others with a lie, trying to convince us a lie is good. The evil one wants us to be haters of the Truth, so we will preach a lie to bring someone false peace. And oh, how successful he is!
Please beware, much of the time, the devil, takes our love and twists it into misguided love so we can steer many souls onto the path of death. Truly, nothing is more hurtful to a person grieving than to console them outside of true love (the Truth)–with a lie.
Telling the grieving, the deceased are surely in Purgatory or in Heaven is a horrible lie. WE CAN’T READ ANYONE’S SOUL.
Such lies are the ruiner of souls, the creator of horrid lukewarm living and the destroyer of fear of the Lord (fear of sin and its horrid consequences). Without fear of the Lord, we can’t Live…and will die.
“The fear of the Lord leads to Life” (Proverbs 19:23).
Truly, we can’t read someone’s soul. If we profess we can, we are lying. If we profess there are no deadly consequences for living a life of sin, we are not only a liar but a “fool” (Matthew 7:26). We are the blind leading the blind. Oh, what condemnation awaits us!
“If a blind person leads a blind person, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14).
Lying doesn’t help anyone, no matter how much we want to comfort another…this false truth hurts others GREATLY.
Telling someone their loved one is saved might put a smile on someone’s face and make them comforted for a moment, but it really leads them away from Christ and to their death…a death we will be responsible for (at least partially) from preaching a lie.
As much as we would like to think that everyone is in Heaven or saved after we die, that simply isn’t true. Therefore, we can’t profess it is.
The Word says: “How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:14). “‘Lord, will only a few people be saved?” He answered them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough [for they lack a saving faith]…there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out (Luke 13:24-28).”‘ This salvation of ours that we want simply isn’t obtainable to everyone…sadly, “few” make it. This is the truth.
“It is certain that few are saved.” –St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church
If we don’t want to preach this truth, we hate fear of the Lord; yes, we are haters of the Truth…we think the truth hurts, and we are very lost and leading others on the path of the lost too. Tragic!
When we lie to God’s children to calm and/or comfort them…that pushes them away from God by removing the Truth. The truth saves. Telling someone “God has called their loved one into Heaven” simply isn’t the truth. When we die, we are called into judgement…not Heaven.
We don’t know what happens after judgment. Only those who die as true saints are welcomed into Heaven when we die. Those FEW saved, who are blessed to have accepted God’s saving mercy and received complete forgiveness of every sin but aren’t sanctified (haven’t atoned for their life time of sins), go to Purgatory, but the rest of us–as the Word says, the majority–reject God for sin and go into the eternal fires.
“The world…[is] dragging the majority of men into the pit of perdition [Hell].”
–St. John Eudes
This is the truth The Word and the saints preach. They don’t preach it to hurt us, but to try to save us. Why do we preach a different doctrine? Have we been deceived?
“The Spirit explicitly says that in the last times some will turn away from the faith by paying attention to deceitful spirits and demonic instructions through the hypocrisy of liars” (1 Timothy 4:1).
Of course, when someone is grieving, we aren’t to try to dig the nail of loss deeper into them…so there is a correct way to comfort without lying, with the truth, that leaves the mourning with real hope and peace, but still gives or maintains the blessed fear of the Lord, which is needed for Eternal Life…and gives souls a real means to help their loved ones, which I will speak about this, correct way to speak, in this article.
Therefore, since we can’t read souls, truly, we can’t judge whether any individual is in Hell, Heaven or Purgatory; we simply don’t know the state of anyone’s soul at their death. That kind of judgement must be left up to God.
We should know, all lies lead to death. “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord” (Proverbs 12:22). Sadly, much of the time we steer people away from the truth, because it is painful, but the truth was meant to lead them to “fear of the Lord” and Life, but instead we led them onto the path of doom, which is one of complacency with sin and presumption of salvation through our lie. Yet, the truth and “fear of the Lord” is needed to Live.
Everyone must understand there are real consequences to our sins: on earth, in Purgatory and in Hell, which is the very first step we need to understand to begin to walk towards obtaining a saving faith. If we forfeit the first step, there is no hope of obtaining the rest of the consecutive steps needed to grow into the saving faith God wants to give us. By omitting the Truth–the first step–we aren’t helping souls; we are killing them. To learn more please read, “What Are the Requirements of Salvation.”
We don’t have to lie. There are other things–truthful, yet comforting things we can say that leads to Life.
Teach the Truth
To teach us Fear of the Lord–to fear sin and it’s consequences on earth and forever–sometimes God will allow the one we love to die, as God has shown us over and over again in the Bible.
“But if you do evil [sin], be afraid, for it does not bear the sword without purpose; it is the servant of God to inflict wrath on the evildoer” (Romans 13:4).
Of course, we are not to preach this truth to the grieving directly, unless they point out God enlightening them to this reality-then we must concur this possibility. But, for most, that can be too much for them to take in and at the wrong time.
We must guide the grieving to hope in God’s mercy to save their loved one, with a more gentile truth, as is appropriate for their hurt heart, as I will explain.
However, teaching there are consequences to sin–brings fear of the Lord–which needs to be constantly and clearly addressed, especially to the grieving, since most have lost this understanding and/or need constant reminders that our sins do have great consequences so to stay motivated and seek God’s mercy to avoid and stop sinning so to hopefully save a few. But yet, what is needed for Eternal Life, the devil has convinced most to never preach. Tragic!
Soften Hearts Hear
When someone is grieving it is a wonderful time in someone’s life, since they are most likely much more humble now than ever before and more open to listening with ears that can hear. This is their chance to really find God. This could be a great time for conversion, if we allow God to use us as instruments of TRUTH.
Anytime of great need in one’s life is a most fantastic opportunity for God to draw someone close to Him. During great suffering and sadness is when our pride drops and we are more open to hear God speaking to us. This time of suffering is when most souls are given the gift of “fear of the Lord,” if they aren’t directed away from it.
Therefore, when we make the mistake and tell others that everyone goes to Heaven or Purgatory when they die (saying they are saved), we are stripping them of the truth, removing God from speaking through us and giving them no reason to amend their life.
“Trustworthy witness does not lie” (Proverbs 14:5), because we bring God’s children to Him through the loving but hard TRUTH.
Stating every Christian is saved, doesn’t give the grieving real hope in God’s mercy, but it actually gives them false hope and only deceives them into thinking they can live life however they want, contrition or not, and still live forever in Heaven just like everyone else…but that just isn’t the truth.
Only those who grow in faith to come to truly detest each and every sin they have ever committed, and have obtained true sorrow (prefect contrition) for even the smallest offence against Perfect Goodness, can accept God’s saving grace and Live in eternal bliss with Christ. This is the truth that saves. And this kind of contrition is oh, so hard to obtain. To learn more please read, “What is True Sorrow.”
“Thy death will not save me, if I do not do my part and detest every evil, and have true sorrow for the sins I have committed against Thee.”
–St. Alphonosus, Doctor of the Church
We must repent and change to Live. We can’t accept God’s forgiving saving mercy if aren’t truly sorry for our sins. If we don’t mature in our faith to obtain true sorrow for our life time of sin we reject God’s mercy since we still have a liking for sin. A lie doesn’t guide anyone to seek God’s mercy to grow in faith to come to truly hate our sins; it doesn’t love; it HURTS.
“Only in truth does charity shine forth, only in truth can charity be authentically lived.”
–St. Teresa Benedicta
When we suffer, whether it is a death, great sickness, or other tragedy, for many, that is the time we re-evaluate our life and open up our souls to hear the truth. We can finally see how short life is and begin to question our own mortality. What are we living for…this fleeting world or salvation? This is a most wonderful gift from God!
Oh, how many saints left a life of sin through this wonderful cross. The cross is a blessing of great measure for us lost souls. If we don’t teach souls how to run from it.
However, we also know many who have suffered, who didn’t choose to find God’s love and have chosen a different path, a path that has “lead to anguish, self-absorption, sometimes even despair and revolt against God” (CCC # 501).
God calls us to help deliver these souls from this path of death with the TRUTH too. God wants to heal the grieving and lost hearts, and a lie can’t do that.
We must direct the grieving to Him with the truth–not away from Him. If the truth turns someone away from God, that is their free will choice to abandon God, but at least we were pleasing to God. However, if someone, leaves the truth, and believes a lie because of our sin, we are both guilty but the teacher is much more guilty in God’s eyes.
The truth is what saves…even if the truth seems more hurtful than a lie, the truth is the only Way.
If spoken properly, the truth provides the suffering with true knowledge and real hope for their loved one. It gives them something real they can do to love the one they lost, plus provides comfort and trust in God’s plan for true peace now and for eternity.
Nobody deserves to be lied to…we all deserve to be led to the Light, even if it is hard for us to say. Everyone’s Eternal Life must be the greatest concern, not if we are keeping friends and people blindly happy with us. Oh, what servants of God are we if we can’t preach the truth!
“The truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
Don’t Lie – Hope in Mercy
So, how can we preach this truth and not bring souls into despair?
Really, it is easy. Sure each situation is different but the truth is the same.
Frankly, the people want the truth…they are carving it. Deep in their conscience they know everyone doesn’t go to Heaven. That is one of the reasons many are so unsettled upon someones death. They know there are consequences to sin. So, it isn’t very hard to teach it, if we don’t allow the devil to scare us into lying.
With each situation, God wants us to love one another differently. We need to ask ourselves what God wants us to do to love and comfort another in their time of need.
All people handle loss differently, and each person has a different amount of attachment to people whom we lose. Different kinds of people die and for different reasons and under different circumstances. But the one fact remains, God wants everyone in Heaven, which is very consoling. So even though we don’t fully know why God allows what He allows, we know God intends to make it good if we allow Him….even death.
The only reason we live is to die…so to spend eternity with Christ. All of the things we think we live for are just distractions from the main goal–God.
So our goal is to guide everyone to do what they can, to implore God for mercy, to help their loved one to obtain Heaven…which in turn will help them obtain Heaven too.
But we absolutely can't leave out preaching fear of the Lord--that there are real life time and eternal consequences to sin.
Actually, it is in fearing eternal death for their loved one that will motive someone to greatly seek God’s mercy for their loved one’s soul.
We know this is true. How many of us pray for our loved ones, but when tragedy befalls them, we don’t just pray….we pray with all of our heart begging God for mercy on their behalf. Therefore, when we have a real reason to pray, like from the fear of eternal doom for our loved one, people will sincerely pray for the dead and from the sincerity of their hearts, really help them.
By denying the mourning the truth, we are removing their motivation to fervently pray–robbing them of fear of the Lord–and most likely responsible for sending their loved ones to eternal doom. What is more horrific than that? What condemnation awaits us? All because, we lied and the grace they needed from their loved one’s fervent prayers was never obtained. Absolutely tragic!
You see, since God isn’t conformed to time and space, He looks into the past, present and the future and collects all of the grace from all the prayers ever prayed for the dying’s behalf and sends that grace to dying at the moment of their death. Our Lord does this to help move the dying from some sorrow for their sins (some faith) into obtaining true sorrow (true faith in Jesus/true hatred for sin), so they can gain a sorrow so great–a hatred for sin so true–they would rather suffer anything than offend God again by a slight offence.
Out of great love for us, even after a life time of us not correctly seeking God or growing in faith and even mostly rejecting Him, we can still have a chance to be saved at the very moment of our death. But tragically because the grace sent at this hour is still too little to move a hardened heart into a contrite one, most still reject all that grace and still unknowingly choose to cling to their sins instead of God. Horrible!
However, great prayer, fasting and sacrifice, from a heart of great faith, can change all of that. Therefore, we must pray and pray hard for the dead, and grow in our personal faith so our prays, fasts and sacrifices can send wonderful grace to our loved ones. The more we grow in our own faith greater grace God can send to our loved ones through our acts of love and the greater grace the better.
Oh, the dying greatly need our help. It is very important we learn about the different kinds of sorrow there are and what TRUE sorrow really is so we can more fully understand the goal. Therefore, please read, “What is True Sorrow.”
But not only that, for the souls who died and have accepted God’s saving forgiving mercy (the saved), but those who still haven’t atoned for all of their life time of offences committed against God after their baptism –those who aren’t saints, who from God’s justice still haven’t paid the price for their sins, now need our wholehearted prayers to help hasten them out of the joyfully purifying, but painful, fires of Purgatory into Eternal Bliss with Christ. And our fervent prays from a heart of true faith can greatly benefit them.
As one can see, praying for the dead is how we truly love others.
Who Goes to Heaven When They Die
I touched on this a little before, but I want everyone to know more fully who we can reassure that their loved one is in Heaven, and who we need to inform that they must pray and pray fervently to God for their loved one so they can have greater hope in accepting God’s saving mercy when they died.
Those who go to Heaven immediately upon death:
- All baptized babies born or unborn (if their parents or someone else desires them to be baptized- if they have received baptism by desire);
- All baptized young children who are not mature enough to have full knowledge of right from wrong and haven’t committed their first true sin;
- Anyone baptized, who is mentally ill or a mentally handicapped person, who has never in their life had full consent of their choices and full knowledge of right from wrong.
- All true self-sacrificing saints, true Christians, who have left the pleasures of the world and all sin–and from God’s grace now truly hates the world and sin, never habitually chooses to sin but habitually loves God and have spent their life serving God for the salvation of souls through love of the cross. Yes, those who have atoned for their life time of sins (committed after baptism), they now have nothing to judge…since they died with perfect contrition for their sins too, which accepts God’s saving forgiving mercy for all their sins, and they loved God so greatly, they paid the price for their life time of sins (removed the stain of sin on their souls) through the joy of suffering for love of Him. Yes, these are surely saved.
- Also, if someone found God within himself, who never had come to know Jesus and was never baptized but grew greatly in faith from the knowledge God places within each of us, if he truly grew to hate every sin and died with true love for God and true contrition for his life of sin, and spent his life growing in such love and developed a willingness to suffer for his life of sin so to love God and help others come to love God and atoned for all his crimes against God, then he too would be welcomed into Heaven upon death, since the grace to obtain this kind of faith was given to him from Christ and he died having a desire for baptism in his heart (even if he didn’t even know of it) from his true love for God. But of course this is practically impossible to happen unless we have God’s unfathomable help (grace) from the sacraments in His Church since we are such sinful people.
However everyone else, which is practically all of us, who has something to judge, goes to judgement before our Almighty God and receives our due punishment…
“For we shall all stand before the judgement seat of God” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
Even young children, who do know right from wrong and have free willingly committed at least one sin, that hasn’t been forgiven and/or atoned for have something to judge, since even the slightest sin is of infinite offence to Our Infinitely Perfect God. If a young child, who hasn’t obtained enough grace to be TRULY sorry for their sins, they are guilty of lacking contrition for offending God, which is deserving of infinite punishment, which means they can’t be welcomed ever into Heaven.
This might sound cruel and unfair, but if we really understood God’s justice and His mercy, we would understand why it must be this way.
Truly, even babies who have’t been baptized are still guilty of original sin and can’t be welcomed into Heaven…and for eternity they will be without the love and presence of God as a consequence of us not baptizing them.
Yes, God holds us responsible to not only guide others to Life, so others gain knowledge of how to obtain salvation, but He also calls us to see to it God’s children remove the consequence of original sin, through receiving God’s free gift of eternal Life (saving grace) by baptism or our sins (original and actual) will eternal effect each other.
To learn about the contrition we need to obtain to accept God’s forgiving mercy please read, “What is True sorrow” also to come to understand the horror of one slight sin, please read Lifting Our Values book, “How to Obtain Perfect Contrition.”
Sure God judges us all fairly according to what was given to us, but if we have one sin not-forgiven upon our death, we are damned for eternity, since we have rejected God’s perfect forgiveness for our sin. This is the truth.
Therefore, we need to pray and pray greatly for our loved ones so they can accept God’s mercy He sends to each dying person, trying to save them….since eternal judgement awaits.
But if we, from God’s mercy, were so blessed to grow in understanding of our great sinfulness and obtain a truly contrite heart upon our death for all of our horrific offences committed against Our Savior, we will be welcomed into Eternal Paradise. To learn more please read, “How to Save the Soul of Someone Dying.”
Examples of What to Say to the Grieving
A lot of us can’t handle reality, so we will and come up with a jillion lies to make reality bearable for ourselves instead of doing something to make reality better. We are self absorbed. But we don’t want to be that way.
Therefore, when God calls us to speak to the grieving, we want to appropriately educate others with the truth and give them what they can do to implore God’s mercy to make reality better.
There are many reasons why someone would tell us that their loved one died. But the reason we want to speak to help console them correctly are:
- looking for self-pity
- looking to verify that their loved one is in Heaven
- looking for help to bear the loss
- looking for someone to talk to
- looking for prayers for themselves
- looking for prayers for their loved one
These are the opportunities God provides us with where we have a window of opportunity to be disciples of The Truth to help save souls. But what we are we to say?
For example: someone comes to us and says “My mother just died.” We say, “I’m so sorry for your loss.” Now that is the typical response, which is fine, since of course someone will miss the one they love. But what else should we do?
Nothing? Or should we try to bring the grieving soul to Life? Well sometimes the person who lost the one they love will want to talk and just begin telling you