This man lived and made me love him.

Today marks three months since my husband fell asleep in the Lord. I recently learned that P1000485in the Orthodox Church a memorial service is often held at three months (as we did at 40 days), and because we also are commemorating The Nativity of St. John the Baptist today, it was convenient to have these prayers right after the Liturgy. I made koliva again but decorated it a little differently.

I like what Metropolitan Anthony Bloom wrote on the subject of prayer for the dead:

What does it mean to pray for the dead? Are we asking the Lord to act unjustly? Certainly not. By our prayer, we bear witness that the dead have not lived in vain. We show that as well as the many worthless things they did in their lives, they also sowed the seed of charity. We pray for them with love and gratitude; we remember their presence among us. And our prayer for them must be supported by our lives. If we do not bear fruit in our lives of what the dead have taught us, our prayer for them will be feeble indeed. We must be able to say, “Lord, Lord, this man lived and made me love him, he gave me examples to follow and I follow them.” The day will come when we shall be able to say, “The good that you see in my life is not mine; he gave me it, take it and let it be this for his glory, perhaps for his forgiveness….”

The life oP1000496crpf each one of us does not end at death on this earth and birth into heaven. We place a seal on everyone we meet. This responsibility continues after death, and the living are related to the dead for whom they pray. In the dead we no longer belong completely to the world; in us the dead still belong to history. Prayer for the dead is vital; it expresses the totality of our common life.

–Metropolitan Anthony Bloom in Courage to Pray

15 thoughts on “This man lived and made me love him.

  1. Oh! I love it that your church still has the green cloths out! my church in Ottawa always had theirs up till I think (old calendar) St. Elias’ day 🙂 The book Courage to Pray is so wonderful. Still praying for you and for your beloved husband. Three months already. Wow. Memory Eternal. and HUGS.

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  2. Dear Gretchen, I cried when I read  your quote. So true – thank you for passing this along. Love, Christie

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  3. I’m from a faith tradition where prayers for the dead are not a practice. This quotation makes me think a little differently.
    Thank you and I pray for continued comfort as you grieve.

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  4. I’m also not of a tradition where we pray for the dead, but I love the idea of our lives bearing fruit in witness to what the dead have taught us. What a beautiful way to keep their memory alive and honor them.
    Thank you for sharing, and blessings to you.

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  5. Thanks for sharing this, Gretchen. I loved these words of wisdom and they caused me to reflect on my own dear husband, his good heart towards people and his never-give-up optimism. He did teach me so much and will always be part of my history, and my children’s history. A good reminder to always remember our loved ones and the many ways in which they touched our lives. Their memory is eternal.

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  6. I was surprised, and a bit confused by the title — to say he “made” you love him goes against our popular notions of love — but when I read the complete quotation, I understood.

    I shall continue to pray for you in some respects the way I think Met. Anthony says we pray “for” the dead; i.e., acknowledging gifts, honoring efforts & achievements, expressing gratitude to God, joining in Christian life in common. Through your writing you are giving me “examples to follow,” thoughts that enliven. What a blessing! May you live out despite grief the love that Mr.Glad inspired.

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  7. I also like what Metropolitan Anthony Bloom had to say.

    I find it awesome that your church continues to celebrate your husband’s life. It feels like most people around me are waiting for me “To Get Over” mine. Which of course is not going to happen. He completed me and I continue to adapt to the loss.

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  8. Lovely — the blue and white of that koliva are so pretty! I feel more and more the astounding, wonderful truth of Jesus’s words: “God is the God of the living, not the dead.” I wish we could get rid of the word “dead” in referring to our loved ones who have fallen asleep in Jesus and live now with Him more than they ever lived before. Thank you!

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    1. Mary Kathryn, I often think the same thing about that word, but then I remember that it is at least a biblical word – but there it stands for the thing that Christ has trampled down, as well! In the Orthodox Church we commonly say that someone has “reposed,” as it’s also biblical to say that they “sleep in the Lord.” Any of these terms is preferable in my mind to “passed away,” which seems to connote nothingness.

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  9. Gretchen, I’m so sorry about the loss of your husband. It hurts to read of other women losing beloved husbands because mine is beloved to me, and the thought of losing him brings tears even now to my eyes. I can only imagine the pain I would feel, and assume it is your pain even now. Death is such a cruel thing, but I know it is not the victor.

    I miss so many things about the Orthodox Church. The memorials being one of them. The OC treats so tenderly every aspect of life. Maybe one day I’ll go back. My heart is moved whenever I see anything EO.

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  10. Beautiful ♥ my mom is going through the same thing you are, I will send you and her friend suggestions through Facebook, as my father (her dear husband of 38 years) passed away a month ago.

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  11. I haven’t read blogs in a while. So, oh, the shock when I read that first sentence in your post! I am so sorry–this is obviously something beyond the scope of a blog comment, something that is going to take a long while and will never just “go away.”

    I do love your quote, though. It brings to mind Pascal’s quote about the dignity of causality, both for our loved ones who are now asleep in the Lord, and for us who are still on this earth.

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  12. These words are so powerful and full of meaning. Even though my husband has been gone to be with Lord for ten years now, he is still such a huge part of my children’s and grandchildren’s lives because of his legacy. Beautiful post.

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