Three days later, at the request of my Sister-in-Law, Olivia Rodriguez, I was asked to give one of the sermons at the funeral service that was being held in the Douglas Ward Chapel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She asked me to give the sermon in Spanish. The following text is the English translation of that talk.
The talk itself was very well received. Two days later, my wifes Aunt, Marta asked me to give her the Spanish text of the talk as she wished to have the family and friends in Mexico hear this talk. Marta read the talk in Spanish; I would not have been able to do justice to what was written, due to the need for greater fluency than I have.
Marta was able to expand a little on what I had written due to the Catholic traditions of that area. I told Marta after the service that she put music to my words.
This is a sad yet joyful moment as we remember Guadalupe and the impact that she had in our lives.
We’re sad because we are no longer able to have her with us, to share our lives, our joys and our sorrows. We’re sad because we will miss her love and the things that she has done for all of us.
We’ll miss the comfort that she gave to those who needed that warm hug, or that cheerful smile.
We’ll miss her example. She was active in the gospel, and had a firm commitment to keeping the covenants that she made with Heavenly Father.
It is right to feel that sadness. But we need to understand that that this sadness is only temporary. There is more to this experience than we may realize.
This is a joyful moment however, as we know, from the teachings of the Savior, that her life is still continuing. She is now with her family, her parents, her lovely daughter Lupita. She has a greater work to do now and is able to accomplish more now than she ever was able to while here on the earth.
In the Old Testament, a man by the name of Job cried out: "If a man die, shall he live again?"
This question has been asked by many millions of people. There may be some here today who ask this question and who ask if this life is all there is.
Is there more to our existence than this? What happens after we die? Is it fair for us to live here on the earth, raise a family, do many great things, and then have it end at death? Is this all there is; to live for 72 years and then nothingness? As a nine year old boy who lost his mother I too asked the question: "Why?"
I am grateful for a loving God who, through His Son, Jesus Christ, has given all of mankind the answers to these questions. Our Heavenly Father is a loving Father who, through the scriptures tells us that our: "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning"
Through the life of Jesus Christ and the sacrifice in the garden and on the Cross, we now have that promise of a joyful morning tomorrow.
The scriptures tell us that we lived before coming to earth. The Lord told Jeremiah that before he came to the earth, the Lord knew him. We know, through the teachings of Jesus Christ that we lived together as a family. Heavenly parents loved and nurtured their children. Time came however when we had to leave them for a short time. In order for us to have all that Heavenly Father has, we had to come to earth, to gain physical bodies. We had to learn to walk by faith, because we are no longer able to see, hear, and talk with Heavenly Father in person. We needed to know how to walk by faith, which, as Paul the Apostle said, is the assurance of things hoped for.
In order to walk by faith we were not permitted to remember being with Heavenly Father. So a veil was placed over our memories that removed our remembrance of our time with our Heavenly Parents.
The poet, Wordsworth wrote that:
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
The soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting.
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness, But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Our Prophet, Thomas S. Monson said that:
"One purpose of our existence on upon the earth is to obtain bodies of flesh and bones. We are here to gain experience that could come only through separation from our earthly parents."
But what happens after we die? Jesus said that the time would come that all who are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth, they who have done good to the resurrection of the just. This promise is made to all people, and is a free gift.
In the Book of Mormon a Prophet by the name of Alma said this concerning death and the life that comes after:
Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection – Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of man, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.
And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care and sorrow.
A Prophet of God, George Albert Smith said:
"The Lord has blessed us with a knowledge that he lives, and has a body, and that we are created in his image. We do not believe that he is some kind of essence or that he is incomprehensible. If you have received the witness that has come to me and know as I know that our Heavenly Father has revealed himself to the children of men, that he is a personal God, that we are created in his image, that our spirits were begotten by him, that he has given us an opportunity to dwell upon the earth to receive a physical tabernacle, in order that we may be prepared to return into his presence and live eternally with him, I say, if you have received that assurance, then you have a foundation upon which you may build your faith. Take that from you, the knowledge that God really lives, the assurance that Jesus Christ was the manifestation of God in the flesh, take from you the assurance that there will be a literal resurrection from the dead, and you will find yourselves in the condition that our Father's children are in throughout the world, and I ask you, what comfort remains to you then? These are the truths that are fundamental.
"More of my dear ones are on the other side than are here, and it will not be long in the natural course of events before I, too, will receive my summons to pass on. I am not looking forward to that time with anxiety and distress, but with hope and with the assurance that the change, when it occurs, will be for increasing happiness and advantages that we cannot know in mortality.
"When we realize that death is only one of the steps that the children of God shall take throughout eternity, and that it is according to his plan, it robs death of its sting and brings us face to face with the reality of eternal life. Many families have been called upon to say good-bye temporarily to those they love. When such passings occur, they disturb us, if we will let them, and thus bring great sorrow into our lives. But if our spiritual eyes could be opened and we could see, we would be comforted, I am sure, with what our vision would behold. The Lord has not left us without hope. On the contrary he has given us every assurance of eternal happiness, if we will accept his advice and counsel while here in mortality."
Another Prophet, Gordon B Hinckley, said that: "We are not chance creations. We were God’s sons and daughters who shouted for joy. We knew our Father; He planned our future. We went from that life into this. We are here with a marvelous inheritance, a divine endowment. Life is forever. Live each day as if you were going to live eternally, for you surely shall."
Guadalupe has, over her lifetime, done just that. Her life and her beliefs bear witness that she will continue to live all for eternity.
I told my son Lucas that the challenge he has is to live his life in such a way that he will be able to be with his grandmother. The challenge that Lucas has is the same one that we all have to face if we want to live with our family and with Heavenly Father again. It is an easy one to keep.
All we must do is to humble ourselves and acknowledge that we are not as good as we think we are, and that we need the help from a Heavenly Father who is more than ready, and is eager to give us that help.
A wise man once said : "This is not the end; nor the beginning of the end. It is the end of the beginning."
For Guadalupe, her ending here in mortality, is only the end of her beginning journey to the kingdom of our Father in Heaven.
In the name of Jesus Christ.