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Saint Leonard of Port Maurice
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How to stay connected with a spouse, even after they've passed away

Veuve regardant photo de son mari décédé - Shutterstock

Edifa - published on 11/02/20

As part of the Mystical Body of Christ, we are still united with our beloved dead.

After the death of a husband or wife, the remaining spouse knows that the one who’s left is still present in their heart. This is a real presence. Since Christ is in our hearts, and is one with all members of his Mystical Body, we have the right to think that our deceased dwells in our heart, loving us and praying for us. If we suffer thinking that we should have asked them for more forgiveness when they were still on earth, we should keep in mind that in their eternity, they have no problem forgiving us.

“Eternal companions”

The remaining spouse can certainly create a new home and once again receive the sacrament of marriage. In Jesus’ time, the Sadducees — those who did not believe in the resurrection of the dead, arguing that the first books of the Bible did not talk about it — mocked the Pharisees who did believe in it. They joked about the story of a woman who had married seven successive husbands. “‘Answer us: when the dead are raised, therefore, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had married her.’ But Jesus answered and said to them, ‘You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven’” (Matthew 22:28-30). Jesus does not explicitly say that we will become angels because we will, actually, recover our body. But it will be such a glorious body that we will be like angels, that is, our body and our sexuality will be transfigured to the point that we will be able to love as God loves.

But there is no lack of widows and widowers who decide not to remarry and who prefer to live the rest of their widowhood as a novitiate, as a final preparation for the full realization of their love. They believe wholeheartedly that the most beautiful years of their marriage are about to come, with the difference that they will be endless centuries — without a second of boredom, without the shadow of a quarrel, without misunderstandings or envy! “Eternal companions” forever!

In a 1957 speech to widows and widowers, Pius XII said: “Although the Church does not condemn second marriages, it is partial to souls who want to remain faithful to their spouse and to the perfect symbolism of the sacrament of marriage. The trial becomes an opportunity for a deeper unity, knowing that the other is happy in God: an initiation into eternity.”

Father Pierre Descouvemont


Read more:
Dealing with grief, loneliness, and the holidays

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