Fr Paddy ByrneWords often are inadequate and fail to express the place and inner voice that is our wounded heart. Such are the emotions as a consequence to my brother’s sudden and untimely passing.

I find myself running to God just like a child who has had a fall and turns to mother for that healing kiss which makes things well again..

Fr Paddy Byrne has a weekly column in the Carlow Nationalist.
This column appeared on 30th April 2008

Words often are inadequate and fail to express the place and inner voice that is our wounded heart. Hearts that have been numbed and overwhelmed by a sudden tsunami, that brings us to a place of uncertainty and great pain. Such are the emotions as a consequence to my brother’s sudden and untimely passing.

Words reflected in the wonderful human story of the psalms “Friend and neighbour you have taken away, my one companion is darkness” or felt in the New Testament, from the bereft and angry sisters of a friend of Jesus “Lord if you would have been here my brother would not have died”

Yet in wrestling to the unanswered questions, struggling with sign language to a God that may often at a human level seem silent in conversation, it is to his energy and message we cling. Clinging like flying a kite when the wind rests. I find myself running to God just like a child who has had a fall and turns to mother for that healing kiss which makes things well again. Like the followers of Jesus on that first day of the week visiting a tomb numbed by disbelief hoping to wake up and begin like it was before.

Death is an experience of poverty, stripped from the familiar we are naked and exposed raw and wounded. An experience that our God embraced as he died on the cross. It is this wounded place of poverty I turn to our Creator, who sent has gift to us all born without accommodation, in solidarity with all who are displaced by poverty, addiction violence or prejudice. Christ embraces the hurt and wounded those overwhelmed by tragedy, “Come to me all you who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest”

We remember smiles and happy moments, of a life, that never experienced the contentment or fulfillment, that many, may take for granted. I’m sure many who read this humble reflection may in the past or somewhere tomorrow live with similar circumstance. Thankfully despite this empty and lonely place we have reasons to hope and begin again. Faith is a living energy that brings us all beyond the now into a much bigger reality. Yes in tragedy there are many unanswered questions into the why of our human suffering, but none the less despite the silence there is also an experience of comfort and consolation. When we are in the company of one who loves us it doesn’t depend on what is being named rather it is being in the presence of love.

Love is that great gift which allows us to know that we are not alone. Gerald Manley Hopkins celebrated Gods unconditional love when he wrote

Love bade me welcome yet my soul drew back guilty of dust and sin,
but quick eyed love observing me grew slack from my first entrance in,
a guest I answered worthy to be here
love said you shall be he

 Thankfully Gods love is greater than any doubt, anger, fear and indeed sadness. Anyone who knew my brother loved his smile, may his soul enjoy the brightness and joy that is eternal life.

The spirit of resurrection is a call to embrace the most wounded and hurt in our communities with a love that comes from Jesus who fully empathizes with human suffering. Resurrection is also environmental and challenges us to care and protect the beauty of Mother Earth.

May the new life that is Christ continue to be our light and give us hope and healing.