Blessed are those who Mourn (“Deep Wisdom” 3 of 9)

By Adhish dulal. License.
By Adhish dulal. License.

In His goodness, God has designed us capable of detaching ourselves from those things that harm us, or simply hold us back from becoming all that we are meant to be. Sinful creatures that we are, we are prone to cling to many of these things, and to avoid the uncomfortable process of detachment. But we must detach ourselves from habits of sin and of general worldliness and excess. We must become detached from anything that we love apart from God and His will.

Put positively, we must love all things in God, for God’s sake, and according to God’s standards — and that requires detachment.

What are those things that God calls you to detach from?

The process of detachment, in turn, requires that we mourn. St. Augustine teaches: 

“Mourning is sorrow arising from the loss of things held dear; but those who are converted to God lose those things which they were accustomed to embrace as dear in this world … and until the love of eternal things be in them, they are wounded by some measure of grief.”

Such mourning takes many forms:

  • As St Augustine says, while we transition to loving God’s will instead of ours, we will mourn the loss of the things we must give up, the loves we must let go of.
  • Connected to this, while we learn to hate sin, we will mourn the evil of the sins we’ve committed.
  • But also, embracing God’s compassion for the world, we will mourn all evil done to others.
  • And we will even mourn the evil that has been done to us, as we let go of the past so that we can embrace our future as transformed children of God.

Those who mourn are those who follow the path of Christian detachment — they live in the truth, and therefore they suffer the truth. They are those who “take up their cross daily and follow Jesus.” They deny themselves for the sake of Christ.

In doing so, they discover that the truth sets them free. Having passed through mourning, they find the joy of freedom. And having been disentangled from the web of worldly desires and cares, their access to the truth also grows, and they receive more of the divine gift of knowledge. And then, having penetrated more deeply into the truth, they can suffer it all the more, and in turn, become freer.

What are the things that God calls you to let go of, to detach yourself from, to mourn? If you embrace this Way, then blessed are you! You will be comforted!

How does the “deep wisdom” of those who mourn prepare us to evangelize?

Having well-mourned our ungodly attachments, we will be more compassionate towards those we encounter in the work of evangelization who are lovers of the world. We will also bear greater witness to the love of God and of the things of the Spirit, because that love will be embedded more deeply within us. And because we are detached, we will also be more receptive to knowledge from the Holy Spirit, which makes us more able to address the situation and the person before us.

Author: Mr. Mark J Hornbacher, OP

Mark is the Vice President of Programs and Director of Theology at St. Paul Street Evangelization. He has a MA in Theology and a B.Phil from Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, and a BA in Theology from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, MI. With Steve Dawson, he is the co-author of Ordinary Christians, Extraordinary Signs: Healing in Evangelization. He is a lay Dominican, and resides in Sterling Heights, MI with his wife Gayle, and their three sons.

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