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.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

This Morning

I talked to Laura at about 4:00 AM today. She is still somewhat troubled. She said she's been having strange thoughts and feelings that keep her from peace. She wants to go to the Lord, but she thinks there's still something blocking his coming for her, and that is why she is troubled.

I tried to explain to her that since she has had no food for almost a month and has been taking strong drugs during that time, her capacity to think clearly and feel normally is diminished. (Her pain has been getting worse, and now she is on a constant morphine drip.) So I just encouraged her repeatedly to trust in the Lord, to realize that "peace with God," which St Paul says is ours through Christ, is not a feeling but a fact, a state a being, a relationship, and that there is nothing she could do at this point to lose her salvation or to be separated from God's love. I told her to repeat the psalm verse, "Only in God is my soul at rest..." and before I could finish the verse, she did so herself: "in Him is my salvation." Her family told me that after I talked to her, she calmed down considerably.

She thought she was going to die on Sunday, but that didn't happen. I have no idea why she has survived this long, nor does anyone else. Her suffering has been increasing, both interiorly and exteriorly. As I was praying for her, I thought of what the Lord said about his own suffering after his resurrection: "Did not the Christ have to suffer and so enter into his glory?" So I resigned myself to the fact that Laura has to suffer before she can enter into glory.

I talked to one of her sons on Sunday. He spoke of her, that emaciated, semi-conscious figure lying on her bed of suffering, and he eloquently summed up all his love and pain simply by saying: "She's my mom." My heart went out to him and all her family who are caring for her and watching her slowly die.

I don't know if I will talk to her again. She may be in her final agony. I really have no idea what the Lord is doing with her, but to whom shall I go? He has the words of eternal life and the power to save, so I put my trust in Him. Please continue to pray for her.

Abbot Joseph

PS Pray also for so many people in the world who live heedlessly and have no idea what they are going to have to face when they come to the end of their lives. If Laura has to struggle so much--she who loves the Lord and has served Him well, has lived a fairly intense sacramental and prayer life the past few years, and has witnessed publicly to His truth--what will it be like for those who have ignored God's commandments and lived for their own pleasures? We only have one opportunity in this world to prepare ourselves for eternity. Let us not wait until the last minute, for we may find ourselves unable to endure the moment of realization that there's nothing more we can do, that we have no strength left, that it's too late to try to start living a righteous life. The Lord has told us; we must take Him seriously.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

To whom shall we go, Lord? You not only have the words of eternal life, You are the word of Love in our midst, so often whispered, lest we have too little choice but to run to You.

100 Jesus Prayers for Your little Laura, Lord. But she needs to hear Your words, now; one way or another, please let her hear them soon. Your ways are far above ours, and Your loving will be done, but.. this is her moment of crying in the Garden, "Where have they taken Him?" and she needs an answer. She needs to hear her name in Your mouth. O say it, soon.


10:50 AM  
Anonymous forget me not said...

I keep coming to check and am so glad you are keeping us posted Abbot. I am thousands of miles away, perhaps one of the most distant witnesses to this journey, and only a witness of the joy and love she gave so generously. Her family is witnessing the utterly slow demise of a woman they love dearly.
Dear Lord, give them strength, and please, come soon Lord, for Laura. Amen.

12:30 PM  
Blogger onionboy said...

Continued prayers for all.


1:38 PM  
Anonymous Thomas, Icon Student, Seattle said...

Peace be with you Abbot. Many receive instruction from the Lord, through you, during this vigil. There's always some redeeming elements to a trial like this. One person's struggle to meet her Maker is another's profound instruction and wake up call. At all events, we have Laura's incon on our screen, desk top. God bless.

4:54 PM  
Anonymous Gabrielle said...

I have never heard Laura's voice, except here. The past few days, when I've thought of Laura, I've also thought of Our Mother of Sorrows. I was re-reading some of Laura's older posts, and would like to copy here some of Laura's own words, from last December:

"At the hour of death, I pray that by the mercy and grace of God, I will have somehow become as a lowly handmaid, an unworthy servant who hopefully, has done only what has been required of her by the Lord. May He find me worthy and say the words I will long to hear, "Well done good and faithful servant." And may the Mother of God welcome me with her Son into the heavenly Kingdom. This is my desire. This is my hope."

10:09 PM  
Blogger The Swede1875 said...

My deepest prayers for you, Laura. Thanks Father for keeping us updated.


11:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Thornton Wilder's "The Bridge of San Luis Rey":
"There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning"

It was as a result of an unusual set of circumstances that I knew of Laura and found her site. I have no doubt it was the work of the Holy Spirit. I am in awe. NGB

12:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Thornton Wilder's "The Bridge of San Luis Rey":
"There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning"

It was as a result of an unusual set of circumstances that I knew of Laura and found her site. I have no doubt it was the work of the Holy Spirit. I am in awe. NGB

12:23 PM  

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