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.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Getting Closer

It looks like Laura is getting closer to her "wedding day." I think of the icon of Christ she has written entitled, "The Bridegroom," depicting Him in the scarlet robe and the crown of thorns. His love for us was consummated on the Cross, and we have to pass through our own suffering and death before we can be received into the joyous and eternal "wedding feast of the Lamb."

She is getting weaker, cannot talk for very long. I tried to call today to wish her a happy Mother's Day (she has four children), but her son told me she is not doing well today and wouldn't be able to talk. Her body is having difficulty regulating its temperature, and she has had some serious fever and chills. I don't know if it is a coincidence, but just yesterday I read this line from Dante's Purgatorio: "...whence a chill seized on me, as seizes him who to his death is going."

I'm scheduled to offer the Divine Liturgy for her on the feast of Ascension, which would certainly be an appropriate day, but perhaps she is not that close yet. There really is no way to tell, and those who love her are living one day at a time as her energy rises and falls, not sure if each present crisis is the final one. But "the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall ever touch them," says the author of the Book of Wisdom. All things will be as He would have them, for she has made her peace with Him, and she is sheltered by his hand.

I'll keep you posted.

Abbot Joseph


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thank you, her good priest and good friend. Dear God, I will never understand. I trust totally, but I will never understand. It's too soon.

8:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She Walks in Beauty (Lord Byron, June 12, 1814):

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

9:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, from one Anonymous to another, thank you. Lord Byron has today brought a peace about Laura's dying to the world fully, which prayer could not seem to grasp or give.

Wouldn't Laura smile to read this!

One word suffices: Amen.

I don't know if it's Coleridge or another, but one poet muses that just as a ship narrows into the horizon from our view and we say with sadness, "There she goes," there are others on Another shore just now spying her and saying with great joy, "Here she comes!"

Again, amen.

9:57 AM  
Anonymous fmn said...

Amen everybody. I'm with her and you all spiritually. god bless us, one and all.

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Thomas Bruce said...

Peace be with you, Laura. I attend the iconography class at St. John Chrysostom on Beacon Hill. Judy Crow instructs me. She told me of your icons and your illness. I come late to know of you. My family comes from Anacortes. Some are buried on Guemes. There's some special tie between us. Perhaps that will be revealed in the next life. Your "Mt. Tabor" incon is now my computer desk top. May God be merciful to you. God bless you, now, ever, and unto the ages of ages. Your unworthy servant and brother in Christ, Thomas

9:05 AM  
Anonymous Paula said...

Thank you for the news, Father.

1:28 PM  
Blogger onionboy said...

God grant her and her family peace.

3:22 PM  
Blogger The Swede1875 said...

Thanks father. She and her family is in my prayers.

2:02 AM  

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