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?"

My Photo
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.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Doing Good from Heaven

Laura had said before she died, as did St Therese the Little Flower, that she would like to spend her Heaven doing good on Earth, as long as the Lord would allow it. She has evidently already begun, by helping to strengthen an acquaintance's faith in God's presence in the Holy Eucharist. She had once told me that after she died she would hang around the sanctuary in our church during the Liturgy, to "see what goes on" behind the iconostas during the consecration. Well, she's doing even more than that now!

I will quote here from a letter I recently received from this lady. (Since I haven't asked her if I could publish it, I'll change her name and call her "Mary". She had met Laura the year before she died and had prayed much for her.)

"I prayed as persistently as I could every day as her condition worsened... When she finally passed, I felt 'lost'. Thank you again for posting her update on her passing. It helped and touched me a lot, and I cried. I also felt 'lost' because I had been praying so hard and continuously. I felt like I was a train on full speed and suddenly I had to stop. I was at a loss as to what to do: should I continue to pray for her? Another question was: 'Did she know I was praying hard for her?' ... The answers came during Sunday Mass; I felt her presence very strongly during that Mass, and yes, she knows I did pray hard for her. [She added that whenever she would remember Laura in prayer she would think of the monks too and pray for us, and she said she felt Laura's joy over this.]

"As soon as I entered the premises of Mt Tabor, I felt very strongly Laura's presence. Father, often when I feel something strongly, my tears roll down my eyes... [During her retreat, the priest giving a talk emphasized that it is really God in the Holy Eucharist.] Anyway, that night inside me I said, 'How can we be sure it is really God?' I asked Jesus the Teacher--I visualized one of my favorite icons, Jesus the Teacher, because I always ask for wisdom--to teach me to know more about this.

"The next day, Saturday, during your beautiful Divine Liturgy, I felt Laura's presence very very strongly on and off during the whole Mass; tears kept rolling and rolling down. During the consecration Laura said, while pointing to the hosts you were consecrating: 'Mary, GOD IS THERE!' Father, it was very powerful. I thought I would have to use my shirt to wipe my tears! ... My soul does know it is really God in the Host..."

I wanted to share this with you, not only to give this evidence of Laura's doing good on Earth while in Heaven, but also to help reflect a little on the mysteries that she can see clearly but that we still must embrace in faith. Let us be encouraged to approach the Holy Mysteries with reverence and love, and with gratitude to Him who said: "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him... Whoever eats this bread will live forever" (John 6:56-58).

I'm also glad to know that she is making her presence felt here at our monastery, and helping others come closer to God. I wouldn't have known what "Mary" was struggling with, but because of the spiritual connection she had with Laura on Earth, God worked through Laura to speak the word of truth and life to her soul. What good things God has prepared for those who love Him!

Abbot Joseph