For those of you who mourn the death of a loved one, this is the time when we joyfully (yet often with tears in our eyes) anticipate our eventual reunion in heaven. May the powerful hope of seeing our dear ones again, that is made possible by our Lord’s victorious Resurrection, be with you this Easter season and always. Oh, what a glorious day!
Every Easter Sunday since losing my mother, I have faced Mass on this holiest of days, with the paradox of profound peace and deep sadness. While the promise of defeat over death is a balm for my wounded heart, I despair in the waiting—26 years this May to be exact. Not even a blip on the timeline of Salvation history. I wait for an inevitability that is both unwelcome and scary, my own natural death. Alas, under the strictures of this fallen world and chronological time, I will wait. And I will continue to toil so that someday I can participate in His great promise to be united with Him and my dear mom.
Eucharistic communion is a foretaste of our ultimate union with God and therefore all who sit at the heavenly banquet. I have faith that my mother sits at that table. I pray that I will sit with her.
I came across a prayer the other day by Padre Pio, who seemed to have such an uncanny understanding of our human nature. I’d like to share this prayer which is meant to be said after communion. I think it has value whether you’re grieving or not. But it particularly touched me in light of the bereaved and the trying journey we walk towards our deceased loved ones.
Prayer of Padre Pio After Communion
Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have You present so that I do not forget You. You know how easily I abandon You.
Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak and I need Your strength, that I may not fall so often.
Stay with me, Lord, for You are my life, and without You, I am in darkness.
Stay with me, Lord, to show me Your will.
Stay with me, Lord, so that I hear Your voice and follow You.
Stay with me, Lord, for I desire to love You very much, and always be in Your company.
Stay with me, Lord, if you wish me to be faithful to You.
Stay with me, Lord, for as poor as my soul is, I want it to be a place of consolation for You, a nest of love.
Stay with me Jesus, for it is getting late and the day is coming to a close, and life passes; death judgment, eternity approaches. It is necessary to renew my strength so that I will not stop along the way and for that, I need You. It is getting late and death approaches, I fear the darkness, the temptations, the dryness, the cross, the sorrows. O how I need You, my Jesus, in this night of exile!
Stay with me tonight, Jesus, in life with all its dangers. I need You. Let me recognize You as Your disciples did at the breaking of the bread, so that the Eucharistic Communion be the Light which dispersed the darkness, the force which sustains me, the unique joy of my heart.
Stay with me, Lord, because at the hour of my death, I want to remain united to You, if not by communion, at least by grace and love.
Stay with me, Jesus. I do not ask for divine consolation, because I do not merit it, but the gift of Your Presence, oh yes, I ask this of You!
Stay with me, Lord, for it is You alone I look for, Your Love, Your Grace, Your Will, Your Heart, Your Spirit because I love You and ask no other reward but to love You more and more.
With a firm love, I will love You will all my heart while on earth and continue to love You perfectly during all eternity.
And when this which is corruptible clothes itself with incorruptibility and this which is mortal, clothes itself with immortality, the word that is written shall come about:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.
Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
(1 Corinthians 15, 54-55)
A blessed, HOPEFUL Easter to all of you!
*Photo by Fernanda Marin on Unsplash
4 thoughts on “Where, O, Death is your Victory?”
Thank you, Mary Jo for your continued honesty on the reality of grief during Holy Days. I wrote to you at Christmas about the loss of my husband. It helps to know that I am not alone, and that perhaps your words will inspire others to reach out to those of us who grieve. People so often say nothing at all in fear of saying the wrong thing.
The bittersweet irony of this Lent and Easter season was made more painful by memories of his hospice care — truly his time on the cross — when all I could do was stand by and weep. And the odd, beautiful, bitter silver lining? Now that he has passed, he has no need to complete an annulment, and I was finally able, at last, to enter into full communion with Holy Mother Church. That’s quite a tangle of emotions.
Keep up your good work, and please know that you have touched my heart.
Dear KR, you have touched my heart with your beautiful words. I will undoubtedly keep writing about grief as God has written it on my heart, but I suspect God has put that charism on your heart as well. Praise God! I pray that your comment will be an encouragement to all who read it. And that your gifts in this area may be explored and nurtured when you are ready. God bless you and may the hope of the Easter season be your Light in the journey ahead!
May I make a dozen prints of your blog post to share with my grief group?
You bet! Print as many as you like and God bless you for being so conscientious as to ask. I just hope it offers help to your group. God’s peace!