Our Four Wives
Once upon a time there was a rich lord who
had four wives. He simply adored the fourth
and adorned her with rich garments and treated
her with the finest of food. He gave her
nothing but the best. He also loved his third
wife very much and was always bragging about
her to his friends. However, he had this
gut feeling that one day she would leave
him for another.
He also loved his second wife. She was always
considerate and patient with him. Whenever
the lord had an issue, he could confide in
her, and she would normally help him through.
But for the first wife, the lord did not
care much. She was very loyal and did her
best to give him the best but he simply did
not love her. He hardly even took notice
Even good things tend to pass away and so
one day the lord was on his deathbed. He
asked his fourth wife to come over, "I
have loved you the most and took great care
of you. Now that I'm dying, will you follow
me and keep me company?" "No way!"
she replied and she just walked away. His
heart sank and turned cold.
The unhappy lord then asked the third wife,
"I have loved you all my life. Now that
I'm dying, will you follow me and keep me
company?" "No!" she replied.
"Life is too good; most probably I shall
remarry!" Her answer cut like a sharp
knife right into his heart.
He entreated the second wife with the same
request. But again, "I'm sorry, I can't
help you out this time!" was the reply.
"I am limited also." The lord was
Someone then called out: "I'll go with
you. I'll follow you no matter where you
go." It was his first wife. She was
noticeably emaciated as she had suffered
from neglect. Realizing his mistake, the
lord said, "I should have taken much
better care of you when I had the chance!"
This is our story. All of us have four wives.
Our fourth wife is our body. We live in a
culture that gratifies our bodies to the
extreme. And yet no matter how much time
and effort we lavish in making it look good,
it will leave us when we die. Our third wife
is our possessions, status and wealth. Napoleon
ironically once remarked, "A soldier
will fight long and hard for a bit of colored
ribbon." When we die - believe it or
not! -it will all go to others. Our second
wife is our family and friends. They can
be great but the furthest they can stay by
us is up to the grave. That is all.
And our fourth wife is our soul. Too often
we neglect it in pursuit of riches, power
and pleasures of the world. However, our
soul is the only reality that will follow
us wherever we go; it will continue marching
with us throughout eternity.
The Chinese Lin Yu Tang is right, Besides
the noble art of getting things done, there
is the noble art of leaving things undone.
The wisdom of life consists in the elimination
of nonessentials. Three wives are dispensable.
One is not.
Let us be wise before it is too late!
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
granted for any non-commercial use,
that the content is unaltered from
state, if this copyright notice is