Sam and Mary had been married for just over 50 years now. Sam had always thought to himself, “I could never live without ‘my dear Mary’”. He would often jokingly say to his wife, “I’d better be the one to go first, I would be way too lost without you!”
So, when Mary died rather unexpectedly from a heart attack, Sam’s worst nightmare came true. Mary had always been that rock of stability. This began from the moment they first started to date. Sam had been in with a tough group of guys who were often tempting him off the path toward healthy living. It was always Mary who would be that voice of conscience, steering Sam back to reality. Remember the words of Scripture (and this is a paraphrase):
If you wander off the road to the right or to the left, you will hear a voice saying, “Here’s the road, follow it.” Well, Mary was the voice for Sam. All through their married life, through raising three children, his surviving of cancer, and the divorce of their second eldest son, when Sam felt lost, he could always be brought back to the right perspective through the gentleness of his wife. And it was Mary, of course, who brought him to appreciate his faith. Sam saw how Mary lived out her faith and how it “kept her sane” and grounded.
The day that Sam and his children came to the rectory to plan the funeral Mass was especially difficult for him. Particularly when they were picking the hymn that would be used at the service. But there was one hymn that Sam really wanted sung. It was the one called, “All I ask of You”. The refrain went like this: “All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you.” For Sam that said it all. He knew how much Mary had loved him, and how much he loved her. But he also knew, through Mary’s good example of living her faith, that God’s love was part of all that was happening, that God had called him and Mary to be together, and that now God was calling Mary to receive the joy of everlasting life. And Sam knew that he would see his wife again, that they would be united in heaven.
As Sam was leaving the rectory the pastor came over to offer his condolences. As the priest was leaving he said to Sam, “Remember this quote from Scripture:
‘No trial has been sent to you that has not come to others. Besides, the Lord keeps his promises. He will not let you be tested beyond your strength. Along with the test, He will provide you with a way out so that you will be able to endure it.’”
Sam knew that was true, and he knew that as hard as it would be, God (and his wife) would see him through. God would make all things well.
Christ says to us that we will never hunger or thirst if we believe in Him. We will not be left orphans. We have the Lord’s presence, especially in the Eucharist. And we have those special people in our lives who help us to stay on the right path. Thank God for them, and do your best to give good example wherever you can to others. We are not alone.