How Can I Console Someone Grieving
God Wants you in heaven
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 distort our desire to truly love others. Much of the time, the devil, takes our love and twists it into misguided love so we can steer many onto the path of death. Truly, nothing is more hurtful to a person grieving than to console them outside of true love with a lie–by telling the grieving the deceased is surely in Heaven. Truly, we can’t read someone’s soul. If we profess we can, we are lying. This doesn’t help, no matter how much we want to comfort another…this false truth, hurts them. It might put a smile on someone’s face and make them comforted for a moment, but it really leads them away from Christ.
As much as we would like to think that everyone is in Heaven after we die, that simply isn’t true. Therefore, we can’t profess it is. “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.
“It is certain that few are saved” (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church).
When we lie to God’s children to calm and 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. Only those who die as true saints are welcomed into Heaven when we die. Those who are blessed to accept God’s saving mercy but aren’t sanctified, go to Purgatory and the rest of us into the eternal fires. And 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. Sure that misguidance makes others feel temporally comforted…that is why we are so tempted into giving it. We like to see others happy as quickly as possible and have been confused into thinking that is love. But if we claim we can read someone’s soul and know for sure they accepted God’s saving grace and are in fact in Heaven, we have allowed the evil one to work through us to comfort others with a lie. And as we 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 that was meant to lead them to “fear of the Lord” and instead onto the path of doom, which is one of complacency with sin and presumption of salvation out of misguided love. Yet, the truth and “fear of the Lord” is needed to Live. Telling someone grieving the truth, in the most loving comforting way, is what saves.
We 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 obtain a saving faith. Now we are not to preach this truth to the grieving directly as that is too much to take in, and at the wrong time, for most. Every other time in our living, this truth needs to be said clearly having our underlining intention of our words to bring fear of the Lord into others conscience, since most have lost this understanding and/or need the constant reminder of our sins consequences to stay motivated to change, but not with the grieving. We are to guide the grieving to hope in God’s mercy, with a more gentile truth as is appropriate for their hurt heart, as I will explain.
This time of great need is a most fantastic opportunity for God to draw the grieving close to Him. During one’s time in life of great suffering and sadness is when our pride drops and we are more open to hear God speaking to us. Therefore, when we make the mistake and tell others that everyone goes to Heaven when they die, 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. That lie doesn’t give them real hope in God’s mercy, but 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…but that just isn’t the truth. Only those who truly detest each and every sin, have true sorrow (prefect contrition), accept God’s saving grace and Live in eternal bliss with Christ. This is the truth that saves. We must repent and change to live.
“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. This time of suffering is when most souls are given the gift of “fear of the Lord.” They can finally see how short life is and begin to question their 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 the wonderful cross. The cross is a blessing of great measure for us lost souls. However, we also know many who have suffered and it has “lead to anguish, self-absorption, sometimes even despair and revolt against God” (CCC # 501). And God calls us to help deliver souls from this path of death with the truth too. God wants to heal the grieving’s heart, and a lie can’t do that. We must direct the grieving to Him with the truth–not away from Him with a lie. 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 hope for real comfort 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.
“The truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
Don’t Lie – Hope in Mercy
No matter how sinful of a life someone led, God still wants us always to hope in His mercy because we simply don’t know if any soul–at the moment of their death–even if they lived a life greatly opposed to following Christ, accepted God’s saving mercy or not. God loves us so much we all are welcome into Heaven if we want it. Yet, sadly so few truly want God over their sins. Yet, from the power of prayers from others on the behalf of a lost soul and what ever good they did do in their life that merited reward, God will send His grace with the hopes that the dying will not reject His love. Therefore–for everyone–we must hope in His mercy…but like I said, we can’t read souls and can’t ever say with certainty if anyone is in Heaven–unless they are a true canonized saint.
This expression some of us use, “She is a real living saint,” as we try to complement another claiming they are a saint, is not a good expression either. It truly confuses us to what a real saint is. That is just another lie we like to say from misguided love. But we aren’t loving. We are lying. I was reading a book titled “God Alone” The Life and Letters of a Saint. I try to read as many of the saints books as I can to get clarification of my understanding of the Way and to become more inspired and enlightened to the Truth through them. I have never heard of this saint that this book was written about. And when I was reading her letters, I was very confused….they didn’t sound like any of the other saints writings I have read before. Then I began to find complete dichotomies to the truth…and how she didn’t in fact run to God Alone as the titled suggested but frequently was feeling depressed and relied on the phone calls of another to cheer her up. Not God alone. From what I read, she didn’t live the life for God alone, but was still self absorbed and needed the consolations of others, not God, to find her peace. That isn’t what any of the other saints did. Then, I knew something was very wrong. I looked to see if I was reading about her early life before much grace, but I was reading about her close to her death. Yikes! What saint have we ever read about was “depressed. ” The saints describe a life outside of wallowing in self-pity because they were filled with bounds of peace from God’s love because of their wonderful trust in Him. The saints have a life of great love for suffering which results in perfect peace–not depression. They have amazing trust, and blissful peace, even under great suffering, from God constantly enveloping them with His love. Then I realized I was reading a book someone wrote about a woman, who was most likely a very holy woman in the author’s eyes, but the author made the wrongful claim she was an actual saint. After I researched this woman, I found out she isn’t a canonized saint, and I found some of her writings don’t lead to the true Way as the true saints describe. The lies we tell to boost someone up don’t help…they mislead us and hurt. We can’t read souls and should never claim we can.
Nonetheless, how we live, in the state of grace (with God’s saving mercy in our souls) or not, is how most will die. The reality is most have to work their entire life to hopefully obtain a faith that will truly hate each and every sin continuously so to embrace God’s saving mercy and be constantly in state of grace from a true love for God. This is hard to do since we have made sin part of our lives and habits. We have grown to love many sins and horribly don’t hate them enough to seek God’s grace to stop.
We simply can’t presume someone is saved even if they lived a seemingly sacrificial, pious life. God who reads the mind and probes the heart knows our true sorrow and true intentions for what we do. We can’t see that. We can look very devout on the outside, have countless good works and bounds of prayers, with the whole Church loving us…but inside the devil has distorted our intentions for why we do what we do. We have been caught in the trap of serving ourselves and not truly God through others. Our words might say we surrender our lives to love others and think we desire God to use us to serve His children, but in the depths of our hearts we have come to love the success, the praise and the approval of others is what we mostly crave. But sadly, like most form of pride, unless we are looking for the sickness, we just don’t see it. Tragically, when most are caught in this prideful trap, we don’t see it and die of an unknown cancer (pride). Those who love themselves above God, even if God’ does great deeds through them, sadly are still dead and have rejected God’s sanctifying grace from desiring love of man…not God and His will. We must never judge the souls of others. Only God knows if we truly love Him.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.” (Matthew 7:21-23).
When we are at our lowest, that is when our soul tends to open up the most wanting to know the truth. We really begin to contemplate life and see the need for God. This is a most precious time that God wants us to speak the true words of Everlasting Life…words that will not only comfort but will guide them towards running to God to pray for the dying, hoping they are at least in purgatory, and then repenting and changing our own life so we can have a real hope for salvation.
How to Speak the Truth
When a grieving person comes and tells us their loved one just died, to comfort them with the truth that will benefit them and their loved one we can say, “
More coming soon