(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis held his weekly General Audience on Wednesday in St. Peter’s Square. In remarks to the pilgrims and tourists gathered for the occasion, the Holy Father continued his series of catechetical reflections on the family. Specifically, this Wednesday’s meditation was devoted to the theme of loss in the family: the pain and suffering that the passing of a family member can bring, and the duty we have to comfort and console those who mourn.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In our ongoing catechesis on the family, I wish to reflect on one of the more dramatic and painful events that every person, without exception, has to deal with, namely, the death of a family member. Jesus has compassion on those who mourn, as today’s Scripture reading reminds us, because the death of a loved one is never without pain for families; this is especially true of parents who lose a child. Jesus’ presence with the widow at Na’in assures us that he is with us in our darkest moments and that he is with us in our loss and mourning. Through faith in him, in his Resurrection and his abiding presence, we can face our loss, “the sting of death”, as Saint Paul calls it, make sense of it, and have confidence that death does not have the last word. May we, with Christ-like tenderness and compassion, know how to be close and offer consolation to families suffering the loss of a loved one. Above all, may we always be witnesses to the love which Christ revealed through his cross and resurrection, a love stronger than death. Let us also be grateful for our faith in him, which is the only adequate response to our deepest needs in the face of the death of a loved one.