St. Therese Society

a group of college and young professional women in St. Louis seeking to deepen their spirituality and grow in holiness while discerning a possible vocation to religious life

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"Charity gave me the key to my vocation. I understood that the Church had a Heart and that this Heart was burning with love. I understood that Love comprised all vocations, that Love was everything, that it embraced all times and places...in a word, that it was eternal! My vocation, at last I have found it...My vocation is Love!"

Monday, April 02, 2007

Sorrow and Sadness

Authentic sorrow therefore, which is one of the conditions for happiness, is sorrow over sin and sorrow over loss of those we love, which is a sign of love. Let’s take the second first. It is not wrong, and you should not consider it weakness, either in ourselves or in others, and to develop a sensitivity but to recognize there is a genuine beauty about weeping over the loss of a loved one. I don’t mean unrestrained sorrow. But the sorrow, which means bereavement, may indeed be tinged with some self-interest because the loved one I will no longer have. But it can also be deeply self-less.

In other words I have come to love someone very dearly and that person is gone. A sensitivity to other people’s sorrow over their loss of loved ones is of God. But secondly, the sorrow that is born of sorrow for sins, this is Christ. Christ wept over Jerusalem because Jerusalem had as we know rejected Him and with Him its promise of salvation. He also sorrowed as we know, over both the sin of Jerusalem and the sufferings. The fall of Jerusalem as a consequence of sin.

So you might say there are three kinds of authentic sorrow blessed by God. The sorrow of bereavement, the sorrow over sin, the sorrow over the sufferings of others knowing that not all people profit from their sufferings, and my compassion goes out to those who are in pain. What a sentence! Sadness is every other kind of mourning. It is essentially selfish, sadness. Sadness is the sorrow (to use that word) over things that don’t deserve to be mourned over. And while we may and should indeed sorrow, we are forbidden to be sad. Sadness when yielded to is a sin. Sorrow within the limits we have described is a virtue.
--Fr. John Hardon, SJ

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