In this life there are many things to prepare for, but the most important is for our entrance into the kingdom of heaven. I will take you with me, should you want to come along, on my personal journey to the door which will lead to eternity, through which every soul must pass. Where the angel of death waits to ask the all important question, "Are you prepared for the Kingdom?"

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Location: Anacortes, Washington, United States

Two years ago I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I was one of the fortunate ones who survived surgery along with chemo/radiation treatments. Recently, it was discovered that the cancer had returned and although I am again on chemotherapy, in all probability I have perhaps one more year to live. During these last months I would like to share what I have learned about the most important thing we'll ever do in this life and that is, prepare for the kingdom of God.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Divine Love

Recently I watched a movie, a musical called "Rent." Because of it’s controversial content I wasn’t sure whether to watch it or not. For those of you who haven’t seen it, "Rent" is a story about a group of people who have AIDS and are being evicted from the building where they have been living, which is more or less a big multi-story warehouse, for failing to pay rent for the past year and refusing to pay rent at all. The landlord wants the building back to turn it into a business venture and the tenants are rebelling.

You may wonder, what does this have to do with Divine Love. I will get to that in a little bit.

As I watched the lives of these people and the devastation they faced, the thought that occurred to me was, "guard your heart." A strange thought I suppose, but a necessary one, as I was soon to discover.

The main characters consisted of a professor, a journalist, a musician, an exotic dancer hooked on drugs, a lesbian couple and a transvestite. All have AIDS except the journalist and the lesbian couple, one of whom is a lawyer.

Basically, these people are trying to help each other through some very difficult times while experiencing their own struggles. Of course sex is implied throughout the movie and sometimes more than implied.

Ok, now to why I’ve chosen to write about this.

This movie generates a feeling of sympathy to those who are suffering from AIDS and we should feel sympathy. However, here is where guarding the heart comes in. As I watched one of the main characters die, who by the way was the most kind and generous of them all, I couldn’t help but wonder about our need as human beings to be loved and to love another human being. But what kind of love is this movie suggesting?

There is a song that they all sing about how many minutes are in a year and how to spend them. They sing "How about love." In other words spend them loving. They also sing a song about having only now, "right now" in reference to getting emotionally and sexually involved with another person. And this is where the light went on for me.

As someone who has less than a years worth of minutes to live, I believe I can speak about experiencing the knowledge of imminent death in the foreseeable future. This is not the time to be considering sensual pleasures. This love, as it is called is not love at all. Why would one want to satisfy a body that is doomed to death in a short time if not to simply satisfy an insatiable need? When are we going to understand that no matter how sympathetic we might feel to the lack of love in our lives or how lonely we might be, it is not the body that can satisfy that need. Becoming sensually involved with another person should be the last thing on our minds. That is, if one considers that there is more to his life than just a world of the senses.

If your world revolves around your bodily senses, then what I have to say will probably not fit your agenda. But I ask you to consider for just a moment that which we are called to. We are called to believe in more than just "right now." I saw this movie as a call to no hope in anything but the here and now. Yes, they cared about each other, but to what extent? It’s easy to think you love someone who is satisfying your sensual needs. But we are called to something much greater than this. We are called to reach beyond what we call human love to Divine Love.

It has become very clear to me that terminal illness gives us the opportunity to realize how quickly the sensual pleasures of the body dissolve into nothing. If we continue to look for these emotional and tangible feelings even in the face of death, then we are surely to be pitied. The body is dying and will soon be in the grave. So what is left? I invite you to answer that question.

Divine Love takes us to a place where we can meet God. Divine Love is God. So I ask you, in the face of death, why would one choose human love over Divine Love? In the tragedy of our illness we are given the chance to make peace with God. Here is the chance to recognize the things that we have succumbed to for fear of being alone and unloved. Here is the opportunity to prepare for the Kingdom. It is never too late for us while we are still here in this life. He waits to hear our plea for His mercy and kindness. He waits to hear our cry for help. He waits to hear our sincere apology for the ways in which we have offended Him. He waits, so that He can come and show us His Divine Love.

"Guard your heart." Do not be taken in by "feelings of sympathy or self-pity." Divine Love is not about feelings. It’s about humility, which consists in facing our weaknesses and weeping over them before God, who will then and only then, with kindness and true compassion, come and fill us with His Divine Love that we so desire.

With a heart filled with sorrow, let us take this opportunity to be real with ourselves and with God, trusting in His mercy. And may we be filled with the willingness to reach beyond the "here and now" and not settle for the things of this world, but strive in our weakness for the things that are Eternal.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful. :-)

9:01 PM  
Blogger forget me not said...

This is powerful, Laura. When we are baptized we become "king, prophet and priest". Every word here proclaims your royalty, your being in tune enough with the Lord to speak for Him and your being a mediator between others and Him. God bless you.

12:12 AM  
Blogger Gabrielle said...

So many people, no matter what their background, no matter whether they are healthy, ill or near death, seem to go through life completely unresponsive to His grace. This post makes me realize, yet again, how much the world needs His Divine Mercy. It is available to all, even with the last breath, because of His Divine Love.

9:12 AM  

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