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Our Dear Deceased, Who Go Only a Little Before Us

It is natural to grieve the death of those who are dear to us, since death is abhorrent to nature, and faith teaches us that it is one of the chastisements of sin. Sorrow is a necessity when those whom we love depart from us by dying. For, although we know that they have not departed from us forever (as if we were to remain always on earth), but that they have preceded us by a little (because we are destined soon to follow them), nevertheless how shall death, taking possession of our friend, not afflict our natural affection? Let it then be permitted to loving hearts to sorrow for the death of their beloved, provided that there be a remedy for this grief, a consolation for these tears, in the joy of which faith gives us some foretaste, in rendering us confident of the fate of our dear deceased, who go only a little before us, and pass into a better life. (St. Augustine, Sermon 172, no. 12)

—from the book In Heaven We’ll Meet Again: The Saints and Scripture on Our Heavenly Reunion by Francois Rene Blot, Letter 1: State of the Question

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