Saturday, June 12, 2010

Emotional Mass

Our Grandpa died on June 12, 1997.

He had been ill with cancer, and his death, while sudden, wasn’t wholly unexpected. I’d lost others in my life before Grandpa, but I was with my grandmother in his hospital room when he died. It was the first time I’d been present when a person died.

And in that moment, I understood how the body is merely a vessel for the spirit. We are not just this body, we are the soul. When Grandpa died, his body was lying in that bed, but in a way I’m not sure I can explain, HE was gone. What made him so uniquely HIM was no longer in the room with us. Grandpa was gone, and in my grief I was not afraid of death.

I miss him so much it still aches. In truth, it is we the living who suffer the most from the death of our loved ones. The loved one is with God. Through Him, they have everlasting life.

For a long time after Grandpa died, I cried in Mass. Despite my best efforts, tears would fill my eyes and spill down my face whenever we celebrated the Eucharist. I don’t know exactly why, but it's as if there were no walls between me and God as if something just opened up and connected within me. I understood death and our connection with Christ's resurrection

Though I still get filled with emotion during Mass, I have not wept for a long time. However, after Nick died last month, I've begun weeping again. It’s frustrating that I can be so strong and focused when I need to be, but I cannot seem to control my emotions while attending Mass. After the last major breakdown, I have not returned to Mass. However, Mass is not something I can avoid and I already feel its pull on me and I'll be going back this weekend.

Surely I'm not alone. There must be others who become emotional during the celebration of the Eucharist, especially while grieving a loved one.


  1. This may seem tangental,but recall this verse,Jesus wept.If He can weep at the death of a friend,you can weep at the death of your grandfather or Nick.
    If you cry while in Mass,then cry.I have cried over my mother and grandmother.If I do so in church,that is between myself and God.Don't feel guilty if you weep during service,weeping keeps us human.

  2. Shelly -- quite a while ago, I did a column over at Catholic Mom called The Gift of Tears. It is something that I have personal experience with. And what is interesting about the column (which is maybe a year old) -- people still find it -- and I am still getting comments on it. So take comfort you are not alone. Certain parts of our faith journey touch some of us -- and I believe the Mass is the most powerful (although not the only) place for this to happen. I'll send you Kleenex :-)



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