`Blessed are they that mourn'

SENSELESS and tragic deaths have been of universal concern through the ages. Innately we resist death, and people of good will join in mighty efforts to eliminate its causes. Meanwhile mourners call from deeply troubled hearts for comfort from the agony of what they believe to be death's finality. They ask, ``Is there a more lasting sense of life?'' For such Jesus declared, ``Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.'' 1 Jesus backed his words with deeds, by healing the dying and raising the dead. What could have been more saddening than a widow whose only son had died, or more comforting than the restoration of that son to his mother? 2 A vital point of Jesus' Christianity is the eternality of life. He proved death's finality a deception by his own crucifixion and resurrection. For a while his disciples' gloom made death real to them, but with the resurrection their grief instantly became joy. The mourning of the Marys at the tomb was transformed with the comforting angelic message of life, ``He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.'' 3 Jesus' deeds gave authority to his consoling words ``I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.'' 4 Jesus' lifework lifts humanity's dark veil with hope. The Science of Christianity, Christian Science, shows us what God is and does. It shows, in harmony with the Scriptures, that God is Life itself and that man is actually the immortal and eternal image of God. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, says, ``God, Life, Truth, and Love make man undying.'' 5 The deathless life of man, God's likeness, is forever expressed in the qualities of goodness, purity, integrity, love. A sense of the immortality of life reaches humanity through Christ, God's healing, saving message. The Christ comforts human hearts by awakening us to Life as Love. The Christ-love, felt in prayer, calms us as it shows the continuity of life where evil seemed triumphant in death. We especially feel Christ's nearness in an hour of darkness, freeing us from grief. If death, a misconception of life, is caused by evil, then destroying evil will rid us of death. Fear, hate, resentment--every form of sin--must be progressively put off through the activity of Christ until nothing is left to die. The evidence of death makes death no more real or final than the evidence of a mathematical mistake is true or final. As we lose the false sense of life in matter, through prayer and purification of thought, we gain the conviction that life is really spiritual, eternal. Is it possible for a loving, good God, who is Life itself, to include any aspect of death? In the continuity and fullness of Life as God, death has no place. It is no part of God's creation! In the face of what seems to be death, a wave of mesmeric thought sometimes floods in through grief. Yet death is not final, and we're not lacking in compassion if we refuse to be sorrowful.

Unwillingness to look beyond the report of the physical senses extends grief and mystifies death. Grief fails to see the larger picture of purposeful, lasting life, expressing the fullness of the divine nature. Mourning may start with sadness for the emptiness of material life that results in death; but it should be transformed into rethinking priorities, sorting out trivia from substance, realigning values to see what is important in life. When spiritually seen, the inherent blessing available to the mourner strengthens within him the maturing wisdom and love that deeply care for others.

Such a blessing takes us beyond death and grief to a lasting view of imperishable divine Life. It moves us from self-centered to God-centered love, from a feeling of personal loss of loved ones to a realization of their ongoing spiritual identity in Life. This purifying fire lessens grief, and we are comforted. 1 Matthew 5:4. 2 See Luke 7:11-15. 3 Matthew 28:6. 4 John 11:25, 26. 5 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 427.

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