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, June 18, 2007

A Letter

I just received a letter from a friend who has been “following Laura's situation from the quiet sidelines for a while.” I had written to her just to unburden myself a little, and she wrote back the following. Since I haven’t yet asked her if I can make it public, I’ll leave her anonymous. But this is worth sharing with you:

“All I can conclude is that the death process is far more mysterious than we thought. And death is not limited to Laura's body, but it includes our expectations and assumptions about this as well. I've been getting one message consistently from this—that God is using her prolonged, protracted death to show us that He is greater than we imagine. Not greater at abandoning or neglecting us, or in delighting in our suffering to maybe settle some score, but greater in His love than we think we know. Something is going on here, something is being revealed in this mystery—I mean, the mystery itself is revealing something to us, and it may be more about us than Laura. My hunch is that God is using her faithfulness and love for Him for our good, for the enlightenment of the onlooker crowd who thought they might come to some reasonable expectation or presumption, given the medical knowledge and data and history of these illnesses.

“I have no idea what that lesson is yet, and it could run the gamut from something very simple—a goal of humility for us, say—to something way more heroic and loving on Laura's part—a kind of intercessory purpose to the powerful end days she's living right now. The fact that we can even propose conclusions tells me it may actually be something else, something we can't, and even aren't supposed to reason out. Father, they still do not know exactly what causes the onset of labor, when a mother's body begins the frightening mount of contractions. Let me tell you, it's involuntary, and you can't put it in reverse and come back the next day, or do it in doses. Once you give your body up to hold a growing new life, you are God's vessel. You are in His hands, and you will know that pain and agony of bringing that precious life forth. He can't do it without your flesh, muscles, sweat and pain.

“I keep getting that same picture here, but applied at the other end of life, in what we call "death". If Laura has given herself to God for His purpose, then she is His vessel. Whatever use He has of her, or plan for her, is His alone to know (until He clues her in eventually...). I loved what you wrote on her blog a few days back, when you rather firmly and clear-eyed-ly said that this is their intimacy. And intimacy is not for crowds, for commentary, for guessing why or what happens next. God veils these things for good reason.

“This is a time for reverent silence. And you know, it's going on all the time! Souls are doing this, have been doing this since time began, and still we are surprised, moved and awed—as we should be. It may be that God is…covering all eyes watching this. When He intends mystery, He's going to protect and guard it, until the time has come to draw the curtain back for our eyes to understand and know. I believe that he allows nothing out of unlove, but everything out of intense love: even a death that confounds our expectations, that will end as it began—in mystery, in intimacy; hidden, safe, held, and cherished.”

Nothing much to report. Laura has been unconscious for the past few days. We’re just keeping vigil.

Abbot Joseph


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My name is Laurianna. Laura is my first cousin. I really like what was written by your friend in regards to the process of death and Laura. I keep hearing and reading that “death will come soon”, or it “isn’t long now”…..but the fact is, Laura is still alive. I, as well as all of us, do not want her to suffer, but why focus on death when she still has life. As this may be thought of as a slow demise, I think of it as an opportunity. Only God has given Laura this great opportunity to teach us all, especially her immediate family, God’s loving patience and faith. We know she is ready. She has prepared for the Kingdom. I just think of the wealth of understanding, patience, love, faith and strength our/her family, especially those around her at this time, are going to gain from this. God, as well as Laura, is giving us this gift. Her challenge is also our challenge. It is only in being challenged that we change and grow and evolve in God, and ourselves. God knows that. That is why it is happening this way. That is why she has lived this long. Laura has been Gods tool in this. He is not done with her in this life at this point, because he is not done with us in this teaching. Nor will he be done with us when she has passed.

At this point, I know that God is in her presence. She is surrounded by his love. We must trust in God in the mystery of life and death and listen to the lesson that is being taught. And, continue to prepare.

All my love to Laura.

2:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

O God, You who filled the heart of St. Clare with love for the mysteries of the Cross and caused her to rejoice to share in the sufferings of Christ, grant that through her example and prayers all who suffer in mind, heart, or body may find serenity in suffering, faith in time of trial, hope in your healing mercy and be given a share in the everlasting light and love of your heavenly kingdom. We ask this through Christ, our Lord.


3:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen, and amen to the letter as well.


7:14 AM  

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