Catechesis Notes for the Week — To Widows—When someone loses a spouse, what should he or she do? Whenever we lose any of God’s good gifts, the devil tempts us to fill the void in our lives with other things that not only cannot satisfy, but which may actually be sinful and a sign of mistrust of God. This is what the Scriptures refer to as “living for pleasure.” In this particular passage, the reference to “living for pleasure” refers to Christian women who were tempted to abandon their faith and enter the trade of harlotry in order to provide temporal security and support for themselves since they had lost their husbands. Instead, in the face of losses we are called to move even closer to Christ and His Word, putting our hope and confidence in the Lord who will fill the void of our lives with Himself. As difficult as the loss of a spouse can be, it can never be a justification for departing from what God’s Word calls us to be and do. God promises to provide daily bread for those who trust in Him. Divine Service, catechesis, and the mutual conversation and consolation of Christian brothers and sisters are critically important for men and women who have lost their spouses.
To Everyone—The last section of the Table of Duties summarizes Christian vocation: that is every Christian to live by faith in the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us (Galatians 2:20). It is our common faith in Christ and the grace of God—His undeserved and unmerited love—that unites us in love for one another. Just as Christ loved us, though we did not deserve it and had done nothing to earn His favor, even so we are called by the Gospel to live in love for one another and especially for those who do not deserve such love. The Apostle John wrote, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loves us, we also ought to love one another.… And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:7-11, 16). It is this love of God to which we are called by the Gospel, and it is this love of God which is the source of strength to live faithfully in our vocation. The source of true fulfillment is not in living for one’s self, but in giving of ourselves to one another out of our love for Christ. [Reprinted from Lutheran Catechesis: Catechist Edition]