November 2022: Editorial
Love’s greatest gift – remembrance
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! –
Thomas Hood (1799-1845)
While the poet marks this month with images of absence and loss in the Catholic tradition November encourages us to celebrate the memory of those who have died, to pray for our dead and reflect upon the shortness of life. The late Queen Elizabeth II became famous for the quotation ‘Grief is the price we pay for love,’ but the quote comes from a longer passage by Dr Colin Murray Parkes, a British psychiatrist, and a pioneer in this field. The Queen popularised it, but Dr Parkes’ full quote is eloquent and wise and deserves to be acknowledged.
‘The pain of grief is just as much part of life as the joy of love: it is perhaps the price we pay for love, the cost of commitment. To ignore this fact, or to pretend that it is not so, is to put on emotional blinkers which leave us unprepared for the losses that will inevitably occur in our own lives and unprepared to help others cope with losses in theirs.’
The funeral Mass declares that the coming of death means that ‘life is changed, not ended.’ The faith and trust required to accept this comforting thought is challenging in a world which largely rejects the vision of eternal life promised by God’s son. Yet as his followers we remain prisoners of hope. May our November memories of our departed loved ones and our prayers for them bring more peace than pain with the passage of time.