21 Nov 2023  |   04:55am IST

Learn to Let Go

Molly Fernandes

The month of November is coming to an end reminding us of the end times as we witness unexpected things as said in the Scriptures. Secondly, we began this month glorifying God for the numerous saints. This month is precisely a month to remember and pray for the departed brethren, our beloved ones, for the repose of their souls.

The church keeps before us indulgences by which we can help the souls in purgatory to reach heaven. This is the month in the year where everyone makes a point to give masses for all the dead at least once in a year. 

November should not be the only month we remember and pray for the dead. We need to pray for the departed souls everyday as they depend on us to pray for them. Every death is a reminder that one day I too will have the same fate. So, today if I pray for others and if I do not remember to pray for them, it can be vice-versa when my turn comes. 

It really makes me wonder, how the people with whom we lived and shared our lives, are remembered by giving one or two masses just once in a year. While after their death are not able to cope up with the grief and pain. No doubt grief is a natural, yet painful manifestation to our suffering and the irrevocable loss of someone dear. As humans we live in relationship, for the one who created us is in relationship with the created and the creation. But we must not forget that we are not permanent citizens of the world and that one day we have to go to the place from where we came. 

So, let us learn to let go our dead, for, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, naked I shall return” these words of the Scripture from the book of Job, reminds us of Alexander the Great’s three ultimate wishes he disclosed to his generals before his death.

On his death bed, Alexander the Great summoned his generals and told them his three ultimate wishes:

The best doctors should carry his coffin;

The wealth he has accumulated (money, gold, precious stones etc) should be scattered along the procession to the cemetery; and

His hands should be let loose, hanging outside the coffin for all to see!

One of his generals, who was surprised by these unusual requests, asked Alexander to explain.

Here is what Alexander the Great had to say:

1. I want the best doctors to carry my coffin to demonstrate that, in the face of death, even the best doctors in the world have no power to heal.

2. I want the road to be covered with my treasure so that everybody sees that material wealth acquired on earth, stays on earth.

3. I want my hands to swing in the wind, so that people understand that we come to this world empty handed and we leave this world empty handed after the most precious treasure of all is exhausted, and that is ‘Time’.

4. We do not take to our grave any material wealth, although our good deeds can be our travellers’ cheques. ‘Time’ is our most precious treasure because it is ‘Limited’. We can produce more wealth, but we cannot produce more time.

5. When we give someone our time, we actually give a portion of our life that we will never take back. Our time is our life!

6. So my dear, the best present that you can give to your family and friends, is your ‘Time’. 

Man chases wealth and immortality all his life, but when death arrives, in distress, he begs for another chance to go back and do things differently than he had. This is the nature of man. 

Isn’t it thought provoking? So, the month of November offers us variety of reflections to prepare ourselves for a happy death and to do the good we can when we are alive and make a gift of our life being present to family members by giving our time for the beautiful relationships we share and pray everyday for those gone before us.


Idhar Udhar