"Dulia" for Julia
My sister Julia Anne Reagan died twenty years ago today. It has been my hope for some time to write something of this event and its implications on my life; or perhaps I should say the effect that Julia herself has had and continues to have on my life. And while I simply do not have enough free time to justly write such a piece today, I nonetheless feel as though I would be truly remiss if I were not to share just a bit of dulia for Julia today.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux delivered a series of sermons centuries ago on the Song of Songs. In his particularly moving Sermon 26, he writes of the death of "Gerard...[his] brother by blood":
I have made public the depth of my affliction, I make no attempt to deny it. Will you say then that this is carnal? . . . Yes, I am carnal, sold under sin, destined to die, subject to penalties and sufferings. I am certainly not insensible to pain; to think that I shall die, that those who are mine will die, fills me with dread. And Gerard was mine, so utterly mine. . . And it is he who has gone from me. I feel it, the wound is deep (cf. Jn. 1:20, Rom. 7:14). . .Julia, I hope my tears while just reading this are dulia enough.
Our Savior too, looking at Jerusalem and foreseeing its destruction wept over it. And shall I not feel my own desolation that even now presses upon me? Shall I not grieve for the heavy blow so recently received? David's tears were tears of compassion, and shall I be afraid to weep in my suffering? At the tomb of Lazarus, Christ neither rebuked those who wept nor forbade them to weep, rather he wept with those who wept. The Scripture says: "And Jesus wept." Those tears were witnesses to human kindness, not signs that he lacked trust (cf. Lk. 19:41, Rom. 12:15, Jn. 11:35). . . In the same way, our weeping is not a sign of a lack of faith, it indicates the human condition. . .
"You are righteous indeed, O Lord, and all your judgments are right." You gave me Gerard, you took him away: and if his removal makes me sad, I do not forget that he was given to me, and offer thanks for my good fortune in having had him (cf. Ps. 118:137, Job 1:21). . .
You entrusted Gerard to us, you have claimed him back; you have but taken what was yours. These tears prevent me from speaking further; impose a limit on them O Lord, bring them to an end.
I love you!
And Lord, you entrusted Julia to us, you have claimed her back; you have but taken what was yours.
These tears prevent me from speaking further.