In December, while I was leaving NYC, I asked you to pray for MaryAnn Hassan, mother of 8, battling cancer for many years. At that time I wrote:
I ran into [MaryAnn’s] husband at the rectory before I left for the airport. He told me about their latest challenges… and triumphs. I am deeply impressed with their faith. They’ve fought cancer and asked God for just one more year so that all their children could know their mother.
Tonight I received a note from her husband:
It was so very, very nice to see you at Fr. Murray’s several weeks ago. I am writing to you to let you know, my beloved MaryAnn passed away today.
God bless you, thank you for your prayers and kindness during our encounters over the years in NY at ___ rectories.
She received the Sacraments: Confession with in the last week, anointing, Eucharist (Viaticum), and Apostolic Pardon.
So I believe she had a happy death. She was in her own bed, she was at home, the family was here, all the kids. She simply stopped breathing, and was gone at 12:20 pm.
I hope I was worthy of her and that I served her well.
God Bless you, and again thanks,
To which I responded:
Oh my! Matthew, accept my simultaneous condolences and congratulations. As MaryAnn’s husband you fulfilled your vocation of helping her to heaven. With the suffering and the sacraments, I am confident in her present bliss.
That said, I will not fail to pray for you all.
Blessings and best,
Dear readers who are married…
Your vocation is to help your spouse get to heaven, and by doing so, get to heaven yourself.
You and your better half shall die one day, perhaps easily, perhaps with difficulties. You are in it for the good and for the bad, with the promise of the Kingdom of God.
Love God even more than you love your spouse so that you can love your spouse rightly and so that you can live with sacrificial love, always seeking the good of the other.