Words of Sympathy
The sympathy verses of this poem - "The Hope of Spring" - were first written as an inspirational friendship poem.
The best words of sympathy often do not adequately express our sorrow in a time of mourning, loss and grief - which can be some of the most difficult times we will face here on earth.
What do we say? Sometimes, it's good to be silent. Sometimes it's better to remain with our friend or loved one for moment - or even longer - in silence.
How can we begin to comfort someone hurting, especially when we are hurting ourselves? Simply, we must never give up hope. The heavenly hope we find in the One who is our Best Friend and Comforter.
33. The Hope of Spring by Paul Berchtold, December, 2010
Mighty trees with barren branches,
Looking dead, but look again,
Thank the Lord through coldest winter,
Life is hidden deep within.
Life at times may seem so barren,
Hurts and memories hard to mend,
Thank the Lord, you are his gift,
You are my dear, and special friend.
Clouds are chased, blue skies open,
Sun and breeze are gently felt,
Thank the Lord, your presence brings,
The hope of Spring, when snow flakes melt.
Do you think your life is empty,
Success seems gone, and dreams depart?
Thank the Lord, you do his work,
In many ways you touch my heart.
Seasons travel, bringing changes,
Easy smiles or drooping chin,
I pray the Lord forever bless you,
With deepest joy and peace within.
Poems by Paul Berchtold
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What is So Important
It is so important that we die well. It is so important that we die pleasing to God our Creator.
Death came into the world as a punishment for sin.
Because we are all sinners, even the "best" of us need to be saved from our sins.
Jesus came into the world to show us the way to heaven, through His teachings, His example, and His Church.
By His death on the cross He gave us the hope that after our death, we too can share in His Resurrection from the dead, and His eternal glory in Heaven.
Hope when it seems Hopeless
If someone goes to hell, all the sympathy in the world doesn't fix the problem, because the punishment of hell is forever.
A person can have lived a bad life, and even died bad, but we cannot judge where they go. That is for Jesus Christ to do.
The hope we should have is that God in His mercy will have forgiven the sins of the person who has died, and that the person receives God's mercy, forgiveness, and grace - hopefully in this life before it was too late.
We should pray that Jesus have mercy on the soul that has departed, the person that has died.
Let death also be a warning for us, to have our soul well prepared for death and eternity.
Jesus warned us, "What does it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? (Mark 8:36-37)
Reality is More Important than Appearances
Death is not a pretty sight. A lifeless body is not a normal thing.
Yet how the body looks is not as important as how our soul looks.
Good Friday was not a pretty sight. Jesus was beaten and bloody while dying on the cross.
Yet on Easter Sunday Jesus rose joyful and glorious and powerful and beautiful.
Many martyrs who gave their lives for Christ were tortured and killed. Many people who die in the Lord have bodies that were diseased, old, frail. Yet we have the hope that they too will rise with Jesus Christ joyful, glorious, powerful, beautiful.
The Most Important Life
Our souls were created immortal, that is, they will never die. Our bodies will die, but our soul lives forever.
We must hope that the individual who has departed, has died in the state of Sanctifying Grace, which is the life of God in the soul, so that person can live forever in heaven.
We must take special care that we always live in the state of Sanctifying Grace.
We never know when we will die, and this is especially important in this age when there are so many sudden deaths from collapse, heart attack, travel and work accidents, drowning, natural disasters such as storms and fires, etc.
What is Bereavement?
Bereavement is the period of mourning when a person suffers loss, such as a death of a family member or friend, an illness, or misfortune.
People grieve differently. Some shed tears. Others may not even show it, but may be grieving deeply inside. Some grieve for days or weeks - even months and years. Sometimes, it comes a long time afterward - even for no apparent reason.
It's important to observe the Golden Rule, being respectful and sensitive to others, praying for heavenly wisdom and comfort.
How can We Show Sympathy?
Many times we simply don't know what to say or write when our friends and loved ones are deeply hurting. The most important thing is to pray. God our Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son and the Holy Spirit can give wonderful comfort - but let us ask Him to do so.
Jesus can come and sit beside any one of us in our greatest grief, because, he understands our pain. No one has suffered a life of pain and suffering, loss, rejection, torture, death, abandonment and humiliation as he did. That's how the cross becomes a consolation.
Let's also pray to be very sensitive, like Christ, in what we say and write to those who are hurting. Let us never belittle their pain. Everyone grieves differently and shows it differently, if at all. Often, just a word or two that you're praying for your loved one or friend can mean a lot.
When in doubt, always ask the Holy Spirit, who is our special advocate and friend, to bring peace and consolation in what may seem the most hopeless circumstances.
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