“Behold, I send an angel before you, to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place which I have prepared. Give heed to him and listen to his voice” Ex. 23:20-21
Today is the 5th anniversary of Angela Faddis being born into eternity. I was reminded of this from posts on Facebook to the Support Angela Faddis page. I have briefly touched on how our paths crossed, but I want to go a little deeper with that story and how I believe it was a preparation for what was to come.
In the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, after communion has been given, the priest folds the eiliton while quietly saying a prayer of thanksgiving. In part the priest prays, “We give thanks to You, O Master, Lover of Mankind, benefactor of our souls, that this day You have made us worthy of Your heavenly and immortal Mysteries. Make straight our path, confirm us in our fear of You, guard our life, make firm our steps… When I hear this prayer, I am frequently reminded of an event that took place 5/20/12 in Stafford, VA. I know the date because I was able to look back at my travel vouchers that we all keep and I was in training from 5/13 – 5/25.
I was attending a 2 week training for computer forensics and found a post that linked to the Support Angela Faddis blog on Facebook. I started to read the posts, going all the way back to the first post and how this young, vibrant Mother of 2 was battling for her life after receiving a stage 4 cancer diagnosis. I remember staying up until almost 3:30AM reading and wondering how people handled something so devastating in their life. I emailed the link to Theresa, who read it the next day, and she responded back to me, “I would hope to have a fraction of the faith of Angela if I were to be put into that same situation.”
Like many people, I read the updates that Chris posted leading up to September 21, 2012. Angela was born on October 1, my birthday, and died on September 21, one day before Theresa’s birthday. There were so many similarities, that is almost seemed creepy. I read the posts that Chris and others made, watched to video eulogy and felt a genuine sadness for her family, but a genuine happiness that she had fought the good fight, finished the race and kept the faith.
Fast forward three years. The last day of third grade was 5/21/15 and Theresa volunteered to be an adult observer at the Copper View Elementary water play day on 5/20/15. After being assigned to the bounce house for most of the day, Theresa complained about her side hurting and took a hot shower. It was after that shower that she said, “I think I found my first lump”. That set into motion all the things that would unfold, leading up to her being born into eternity on 4/18.
One 4/17, my parish priest Fr. Robert Rankin had come over to anoint Theresa, give her communion and pray with us. Afterwards we were sitting outside on the patio and he said he had just seen a series on EWTN about a young family from Phoenix and it made him think of Theresa and I. I told him that I knew their story well and how I read about it almost 4 years ago. It wasn’t until I started to piece things together that I realized just how intertwined that story was with the key dates in our journey.
Every now and then I think of the words that Theresa said, “I would hope to have a fraction of the faith of Angela if I were to be put in that same situation.” Looking back at how gracefully and faithfully Theresa walked her journey, there can be no doubt she had more than a fraction of the faith, she had it all.
I also looked back at the first time I read Angela’s story, about how I thought of her family and wondered how I would react in a similar situation. There was no way to know that just 3 years later I would be walking my own path and the answer to how I would react would unfold in rapid succession. I say this often, there are no coincidences in life. I believe the path that I was going to have to walk was already being prepared and laid before me, well before I knew it was happening.
Symbolism of The Tapestry
At the funeral Divine Liturgy, Fr. Rankin used a tapestry of the Last Supper to drive home this point. When we are born into eternity, we will see the beautiful image of our life, with all the interweaving of people, places and things that make up our life. We will see how it all came together and what things we learned along the way that prepared us for milestones and events in our life. Much like looking at a tapestry. From one side, it is blurry and we can’t clearly see the image. But from the right side, it is a beautiful image laid out for us. I know for me, looking back on 4 hours of reading in May 2012, this was being done to prepare my heart for the journey I walked. Someday, Lord have mercy, I will see all of the things that were given to me to prepare me for my journey towards the Royal Doors and my being born into eternity.
“In the depth of your wisdom, O only Creator, you govern all with love and supply the needs of each. Now give rest to the souls of your servants, for they have placed their hope in you, our Creator, Maker and God.” Eternal memory to Theresa and Angela, on the Day of Angela’s Dormition and the Vigil of Theresa’s Birthday.