By Crystal Crocker
“Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (Luke 23:42)
My friend leaned over and said, “I always cry at weddings and funerals.”
I smiled back through a tear, “Me too.
It was a familiar phrase. I had heard it said many times. What was it that tugged at heartstrings and caused a lump in the throat to overflow onto the cheeks? Certainly I could understand tears shed for the loss of a loved one … but I was sitting at the funeral of a co-worker’s sister that I had never met and tears were streaming down my face. And what about weddings or other poignant moments in life when emotion might overwhelm us? Not everyone cries of course, but as I glanced around the funeral crowd, I could see plenty of tissues dabbing at tear soaked eyes to validate the sentiment.
And then when it came time for the procession from the church to the garden cemetery we began to sing, “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom, Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And I could barely breathe as I soaked in the heavenly love being poured out. In that moment is the hope of the Resurrection. I am a sinner just like the robber who hung at the right of Jesus and asked for forgiveness in the hope of being with him in heaven. Tears of gratitude freely flowed down my face.
So why are there tears at a wedding? No one has died; there is no loss to mourn, quite the opposite. I decided to test myself at a recent wedding of a couple I barely knew thinking since I wasn’t emotionally attached to the couple there wouldn’t be tears … only to catch myself welling up during their vows. They spoke to each other in adorable affection with a little awkwardness but conveyed true devotion. That was it! Dedicating themselves to one another, in sickness and health, through good times and bad until death do them part, was sacrificial love and enough to bring tears to my eyes even though I barely knew them.
Or was that it?
There is always the seen and the unseen. As I look past the couple to the altar and crucifix behind them I know God is there at the precise moment of their vows promising to be faithful to them as they were promising to each other. His mighty outstretched hands give them grace and an eternal blessing to help carry them through the joys and storms of life … and that should bring all of us to our knees with tears of gratitude.
It’s not only weddings and funerals that grab our heart and soul, but all the poignant moments in sacramental life that can catch our breath, pausing life long enough for us to peer through a crease beyond ourselves to glimpse the eternal … and the realization that something greater than us is present.
- At that moment of baptism when water is poured out and the Holy Spirit comes forth to wash away original sin.
- At that moment when absolution is given and we are free from our sins.
- At that moment when the bell rings, the host is lifted up and Jesus is present.
Whether we are conscious of it or not, all souls are created by God and long to be with Him—it is written in our very being. Our souls cry out in the moments when heaven comes down to earth and we are reminded of our weaknesses, our failings, and our need for God’s mercy. So allow yourself to shed a tear of gratitude in those moments of hope and joyful promise and ask, “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
And may we all hear, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
About the Author:
Crystal Crocker is a wife, mother of four and lifelong Catholic with a zeal for evangelization. She has led numerous Bible studies and women’s groups. She currently works in the Office of Evangelization & Catechesis for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.