Faith and Grieving

Dear Catholic Exchange:

If I lose someone who is really a beloved person to me and I cannot seem to get over the loss, does that mean that I don't have enough faith?



Dear Josephine,

Peace in Christ!

There are a number of ways to answer your question. I hope the following is in some way helpful to you.

The fact that you cannot get over the loss of a loved one does not mean that you do not have enough faith. Faith helps us face loss, but faith does not make loss go away. Faith is personal adherence to God in all things, even loss (cf. Catechism, no. 176). Faith does not mean we will avoid suffering, but that we know God and act on that familiarity. To put it another way, if you had said because you lost your loved one that there is no God, then you would not have faith. But if you turn to God because you lost your loved one, then you have faith.

The story of Job is instructive. God permitted Job to suffer great loss. The reaction of those around him was that he had done something to fall from God's favor. But Job remained faithful. His wife didn't understand why, "‘Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God, and die.' But he said to her, ‘You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?' In all this Job did not sin with his lips" (see Job, ch. 1-2).

Faith does not mean getting over loss. Faith means that we experience the loss with God. Further, in faith we know that both we and our deceased loved ones are children of God. This means that there is more connection than separation. One Catholic counselor with whom I consulted told me that it's not about how long it will take to get over grieving but it's about connecting with the qualities inspired in you by their life, things you enjoy they taught you to enjoy, the things and memories they gave you that keep them alive for you. Finally, only in faith do we commend our departed love ones to the love and mercy of God.

United in the Faith,

Eric Stoutz
Information Specialist
Catholics United for the Faith
827 North Fourth Street
Steubenville, OH 43952
800-MY-FAITH (800-693-2484)

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  • Guest

    God loves you .

    As one who has lost so grievously, in my wife, Sharon, I can sit with Job in his own losses. God gives me Job that He tells me that I needs must sit with the poor man.

    But, his ‘dear’ wife may very well have been a second or later wife. Her losses of their own children, if such they were, would have caused her to sit with Job. By her attitude, I have to assume that the children were those from a prior (and late, for not sitting with Job) wife; or she was one insane with grief; or a singularly colossal b*tch. Perhaps, by Job’s reply – that he called her fool but did not double-dog-dare her to curse God herself and keel over – reflects her insanity of grief.

    I know of those who have lost children, and my heart rends in two for their loss. It is a loss for which one can never be prepared, and the vast abysmal horror is total.

    But, too, in losing Sharon, who would have been the very one to sit with me in my turmoil of loss and grief? That very lady whom I grieved; and, that was loss on loss, heartbreak on heartbreak. My beloved best friend could not be with me, sitting with Job, and giving of her vast heart in consolation.

    Remember, I love you, too

    Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ,

    Pristinus Sapienter

    (wljewell or …