PREPARE FOR THE KINGDOM

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, January 01, 2007

Changing Direction

Today as I was reflecting on my current health condition, I asked the Lord if He could tell me something about it. I read the following just shortly after I asked.

"We must understand, then, that even though God doesn't always give us what we want, He gives us what we need for salvation." St. Augustine of Hippo

Now that's a direct answer! It really makes me see any kind of suffering or illness from a perspective of hope rather than fear.

A few days ago I received a newsletter from the Prayer Ministry I belong to here in the parish. When I opened it this was the first thing I read:

"Do not let your heart be troubled. Trust in me and trust in my Heavenly Father. For I go to prepare a place for you. Where I am, you will be."
John 14:1-3

This struck me as a little alarming and what was the first thing I did, I let my heart be troubled! No sooner did I read what not to do and I did it. I guess it kind of showed me where I'm at. But that's a good thing. I would rather know that I still need to work on accepting whatever comes than to think that I can do all things without any difficulty.

The Lord is very good at keeping me aware of my shortcomings and I have to say, I do appreciate that.

I've also been receiving a word on repentance recently. This is repentance as in "changing direction" as Fr. Abbot would say. The words of John the Baptist keep coming to mind:

"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
"The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight."

I feel I might need to be more disciplined about how I spend my time, since time is of great value. We all need to see time as something we just can't take for granted anymore. It's important to make every minute count, to be aware of what we're doing and why we're doing it. Is it going to matter in the end? Is it contributing to the salvation of my soul? I ask myself these questions now about most everything and if the answer is no, then I can't let myself be distracted by them.

I also read something very beautiful on repentance from "A Spiritual Psalter" from the works of St. Ephraim the Syrian. He says:

"Blessed is he who loves repentance, which saves all sinners, and does not delight in sin, that he might not appear ungrateful before God our Savior."

In looking at it this way, the call to repentance is the key to our salvation. If there's one thing we don't want, it's to appear ungrateful before God.

So I will leave you with this final thought, if we were to appear before God tomorrow, how would we feel about ourselves? How would we feel about the way we've spent our time in this life? Have we repented and changed direction? I know that even though I've changed the direction of my life, I need to continue to change. This is an ongoing process while we are still here on this earth.

So let's make the commitment to repent and in doing so, show the Lord that we are grateful for all the things He has done for us.

Praised be Jesus Christ now and forever!

4 Comments:

Blogger forget me not said...

Sometimes changing direction is not a choice but a consequence of a special event or a moment of light which makes things suddenly very clear. It's as if we need to learn to read the signs along the road so we know when to turn, instead of turning on our own whim.
Thanks Laura for your well pondered and incisive reflections. I'm glad you'll be posting more often. I truly wish you a peaceful and love-filled 2007.

2:35 PM  
Anonymous terry said...

Laura:

forget me not published a link to your blog and I am always inetersted in who my blogging friends are visiting. I wasn't prepared for the situation that you face and I admire your courage and spirituality under the circumstances.

It is humbling and inspirational for someone like me, stumbling along and getting all wound up over silly things.

I wish you a peace-filled 2007.

6:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's always powerful to hear stories of God speaking to His children.
Every blessing to you
Maria in the UK
www.inhishands.co.uk

11:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen, amen, and amen.

:-)

11:06 AM  

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