Words of comfort and wisdom
Their light and love shine constantly bright about us
This section deals with literature in it broadest sense, which can play an important role in both comforting and healing those who experience great personal suffering and loss, and learning to understand and find a deeper meaning to their pain.
In the case of a bereavement of a loved one, there is inevitably a feeling of acute emptiness and separation as well as the experience of the light of purpose, meaning and joy in life being dimmed, if not almost entirely extinguished. Similarly, the burden imposed by pain and privation must appear almost as inexplicably futile and personally unjust to those on whom it is visited.
Yet the writing of philosophers, theologians, poets and sages throughout the ages attest to the belief that there is a higher purpose and meaning to pain and, if its mystery can be unlocked, there exists beyond it a wondrous beauty and opportunity for growth. Likewise they do not attach a great stigma or fear to death or indeed see it as the end of being, but rather as a doorway to a new realm of conscious, spiritual existence where the departed can love, care for and guide the lives and destinies of their loved ones.
One of the most important theologians of the 20th century, German-born Karl Rahner wrote:
“The great mistake of many people – among them, even pious persons – is to imagine that those whom death has taken, leave us. They do not leave us. They remain! Where are they? In darkness? Oh, no! It is we who are in darkness. We do not see them, but they see us. Their eyes, radiant with glory, are fixed upon our eyes full of tears. Oh, infinite consolation! Though invisible to us, our dead are not absent.
I have often reflected upon the surest comfort for those who mourn. It is this: a firm faith in the real and continual presence of our loved ones; it is the clear and penetrating conviction that death has not destroyed them, nor carried them away. They are not even absent, but living near to us, transfigured: having lost, in their glorious change, no delicacy of their soul, no tenderness of their hearts, nor especial preference in their affection. On the contrary, they have, in depth and fervour of devotion, grown larger a hundredfold. Death is, for the good, a translation into light, into power, into love. Those who on earth were only ordinary Christians become perfect… those who were good become sublime.”
The beautiful imagery created by his vision dispels much of the anguish of permanent separation, and allows for the possibility of establishing a new spiritual relationship with a loved one, who can now become a confidant, companion and guardian constantly by our side.
We have selected below some books and poetry that offer inspiration and comfort in difficult times. Over time, and with your help, we hope to build a “library of writing”, which will help us all with our own individual and unique needs. If you would like to suggest inspirational and uplifting books, poems, wisdoms or web addresses that would contribute to the library, or to make a comment on its development, please feel free do so by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The books section contains a brief and eclectic sample of the wonderful diversity and richness of thought, ideas and images that can shine a light into the deepest recesses of our darkness and despair and help initiate a new journey of self awareness, healing and hope.
This section presents poems and writings which contributors to this web site have found comforting or inspirational in difficult times.