In the past four years, two of my closest friends have become widows. Two men that were not only husbands of my friends, but also my close friends, have passed away. Both of them were in their mid-30’s. I think of my young widowed friends and their small children every day. But with all of life’s busyness and responsibilities, it’s difficult to help them as much as I think I should.
Sure, I helped them “bury the dead” by being there at the funeral. My husband and I attended the wake, the funeral, the service at the cemetery for one – for the other we were helping prepare the luncheon. We help in any way we can with our time and resources.
I asked my one friend, let’s call her “Molly”, what was it that her friends and family did that was the most helpful as she grieved such an incredible loss. She said, just knowing we are there to call or text anytime was and is a huge comfort. Molly said she was so grateful when people respected her request for space. She also said she knew people prayed for her, she felt it.
I feel the need to repeat that. “Molly” said she knew people prayed for her, she felt it. Molly is not one of my “rosary” friends. Molly and I have been friends since 7th grade, but the closest we’ve ever gotten to pray together is sitting next to one another at Mass. She is not a friend that frequently talks about theology or spiritual living. But Molly said, she felt people praying for her – and she believes in the power of prayer.
So although the Corporal work of Mercy – Bury the Dead, may not seem like enough to give – it is extremely important to give. It is important to physically be present at funerals. It is extremely important that we remember to pray for the dead and his or her’s surviving family. It is important to contribute in that meal train for the next few weeks as the family tries to grasp their “new normal”. And after all of that is done, and time passes, prayer is an incredible gift to continue to give. Pray for the soul of the deceased. Pray for the friend that is mourning. Maybe it is no accident, that this is the last of the corporal works I have to discuss – for it is easily bringing us, through prayer, into the Spiritual Works of Mercy.
Please pray with me:
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May the souls of the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.