Today the Catholic Church sets aside time to remember those who have died, who have “fallen asleep in the Lord.”
Henri Nouwen has two great quotations to help us think about death:
“Why do we think that Christian death is an easy death? Why do we believe that a hope for a life with Christ will make our death a gentle passage? A compassionate life is a life in which the suffering of others is deeply felt, and such a life is a life that may also make one’s death an act of dying with others…”
“The great secret in life is that suffering, which often seems to be so unbearable, can become, through compassion, a source of new life and new hope.
“God has become human so as to be able to live with us, suffer with us, and die with us. We have found in Jesus a fellow human being who is so completely one with us that not a single weakness, pain, or temptation has remained foreign to him.”
Letters to Mark about Jesus
The solidarity in suffering is freeing for the person suffering and the person accompanying. When we “sit together on the mourning bench,” we begin to see how Jesus has come to give us hope, sharing out suffering and also our joys.