When I visit a grave site, I think of things I want to tell that person underground, and I think maybe I should pray for them, and then I wonder where are they now, and before long the questions pour out, don’t they! The grave site is a place where we don’t know much. Except for the silence under that stone. And the new silence in our own life.
Stay with that moment. Imagine—were Christ to join us—how he too feels the silence, right there next to us. The memories. It is said that Jesus wept for his friend who died. I think it’s allowed that he would weep for our own brother or sister, our child, our mother, for he knew them, tenderly, better than we knew them. He knows us too at the grave, and is willing to enter our own silence, our tears, letting his own tears come. At the edge of what we can ever know, at the margins, he stands with us.
I believe this place of absence, loss, uncertainty, silence, is the situation in which Christ is close, and wholly intent on what’s happening. And there we become people who actually stand in faith. Our tears and Jesus’ tears are grace, a new kind of union. They open to something new, the great thawing of what is frozen. “Get up, he is calling you.”
There is more to come now.
—Fr. Richard Bollman, S.J., a Jesuit of the Chicago-Detroit province, is currently engaged in pastoral ministries in Cincinnati and at the Jesuit Center in Milford, OH.