We hail you as our Savior, Lord, our refuge and our great reward.
Without your grace we waste away like flowers that wither and decay.
You may have had an opportunity to experience this in a family member, relative, neighbor, or friend. Maybe not. As a priest, however, I have seen it many times. I am referring to the wasting away of a person because of some traumatic illness such as cancer or other diseases in which a person wastes away. Many people in those conditions often end up looking like pictures of those seen starved in the concentration camps. It is a horrible sight for many to experience.
There are times that people who have died after a prolonged illness are actually not shown at wake services. The family of the loved one would rather have people remember the person as he or she once was rather than as the final state of the person.
When I see someone who has wasted away, I often think about the spiritual wasting that takes place in people’s lives. If we find the physical wasting a difficult sight to behold, we need to take into account the condition of our souls. Many of us may be walking around in bodies that look good, healthy, and normal but, within, our souls may be in a state of abuse and disrepair.
Without God’s grace, we will waste away, as the song says, “like flowers that wither and decay.” My mother would often instruct us not to buy her flowers because they never lasted long. However, we were told, if we did buy her flowers, she preferred mums. Her reason was that mums lasted the longest so she could enjoy them more.
While I liked the mums as well, I quickly learned to dislike them because, after a week or so, they would still look somewhat appealing; but, they would begin to stink. Even if we changed the water every day, there would be a foul odor coming from them as their stalks slowly decayed.
Do not allow your souls to decay. Do all that you can to remain healthy and fresh. Pray regularly, go to Mass, perform the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, go to confession, do spiritual reading, and anything else that you can accomplish on a regular basis. This keeps our souls alive and in prime condition in order to meet our refuge and great reward.
FAITH ACTION: Do not be afraid to let other people know about your faith in Jesus Christ. Invite them to open their hearts to Him who is our great reward.