Preparing For Eternity
by Danielle Koleniak
With Thanksgiving behind us, we’ve officially entered a time of planning mayhem. For much of society, it’s a race against the clock to find the best deal on a 50 inch 4K Ultra HD Flat Screen TV or snatch the latest Shark SE400 Pro Lite Steam Mop for 50% off the original price (guilty…).
We’ve managed to plan our bank accounts, credit card points and appetites, but yet, we (including myself), have forgotten what we really should be preparing for- Christ.
As we enter into the Second Sunday of Advent, be humbly reminded that this is a time we empty ourselves of all that impedes the comings of the Lord and the fulfillment and true joy salvation brings.DOWNLOAD THE BULLETIN
Parishioner, Suzan Norfleet was a planner. It’s what she was passionate about and very successful in doing it. She owned an interior decorating business and helped others plan out or redesign their homes. She ran her business until the very end of her life.
Suzan died last month after a fearless fight against breast cancer. To her, it wasn’t a battle lost—it was one she won—confident that she was going to spend eternal life in heaven.
After 8 months of RCIA she fulfilled one of her biggest plans this past April- she became Catholic. Her relationship with Christ grew even more and a peace came over her about her fate—looking at her diagnosis as an inspiration rather than a defeat.
Suzan leaves behind her husband, daughter, son in-law and her beloved dog. Before she died, she wanted to leave behind some words that she asked her daughter to share with others- so, that they too, will be encouraged to have a deeper relationship with God and their church as they prepare for whatever may be in their own lives. Because after all, there is so much more to our time on this planet than buying a really big TV or steam mop.
Danielle Koleniak: For those who never met your mother, what was she like?
Jodie Savage: Suzan was a real people person. She loved her life. She really enjoyed every minute of it. As a child, she worked in her family’s dry cleaning shop and then became an interior decorator and owned her own business. She loved it.
DK: When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she didn’t slow down, did she?
JS: When she learned she had the worst form of breast cancer, which is tri-negative, she wanted to pursue everything she wanted to do with her life. Instead of the diagnosis scaring her, she let it inspire her. The first thing she wanted to do was become a Catholic. She went through the whole RCIA process and completed it this past Easter.
DK: What were some of the changes you saw when she went through the converting process?
JS: I saw a peace come over her. When she began regularly praying the rosary, she told me it changed her prayer life because for the first time she stopped telling God what to do, and instead just worshipped Christ. She explained that’s when she heard the voice of God. When she would go for her medical testing she would pray the Rosary and she said a peace would come over her and she felt God with her.
DK: Before she passed away, she wanted you to share some things on behalf of her and her life to others.
JS: Yes, she wanted to encourage those who are debating returning to their faith and to Christ. She urged them to let go of the things that are keeping them away. Those things are probably so small to God and in the light of eternity. Let yourself be made free. Give in and let God work the rest of it out.
Also, the idea that ‘if you’re a Christian bad things aren’t going to happen to you and if things happen to you then it’s a sign that you don’t have enough faith or you’re not good enough.’ My mother didn’t look at her terminal cancer this way. She didn’t look at it as a judgment, but rather a challenge.
Instead of saying ‘why me?’ she said ‘why not me?’ It’s not about this life, it’s about eternal life. She would not let cancer define and control her life.
I think the message is: The ultimate healing is eternal life for all of us. There’s a sadness that she has left us, but there is no darkness. There is certainly a hope for eternal life. She had no doubt that it was where she was going.
She also said she had learned that as she matured in her relationship with Christ, she stopped praying for her circumstances and instead prayed for the strength to deal with them. She said, “you’ll find you open the floodgates of peace when you stop resisting.”
Rest in peace, Suzan Norfleet.