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Must Read: The Death of a Young Loved One as an Occasion of Grace

Mark Zia, a theologian at Benedictine College, writes of the death of his son.

If I were to ask a dozen people “what is the worst thing that could happen in life,” I have no doubt that “death of a loved one” would be a common response, and if I were to ask what could be even worse than the death of a loved one, no doubt an even more heart-wrenching response would be “the death of a loved one who was also a child.” Today marks the two-year anniversary of the death of my youngest son, who unexpectedly passed from this life to the next shortly after his birth. I am thankful to Almighty God for the gift of my youngest son, who lived and thrived for many months within our family while still in the womb. When there could just as well not been life, God gifted us with the life of our little boy whom we were able to hold in the hospital and who will always live in our hearts. In these past two years, I have often reflected on the difficult questions of life, including the meaning of death of the innocent, and yet as I continue to grieve, I also continue to see more than a ray of hope in an otherwise tragic situation. It is an unexpected journey for me, because as a professional theologian, I have always approached these issues from a pastoral and academic perspective, but never through lived experience. Citing the difference, Pope Pius XII said it best: “We get learning from books, but we get wisdom from suffering.”
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