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First a huge thank you to all who have prayed for me and sent me their love and best wishes; do not ever let anyone tell you prayer has no effect, because for the last month or so I have felt held by yours. Even though the blog is private now, I am not going to go into the gory details of my illness; suffice it to say that having the last rites read over you is something I never thought to write about – yet through God’s mercy, I can. and am.

I am now going to spend some time convalescing at a retreat centre, and am praying for guidance with respect to my future. As some of you know I have long been drawn to the life of a Religious, and I am now committing myself to the first stages of this. It will mean a wrench from family, and from you, my friends here, but at the moment, that is where it seems I am called, and I must follow it.

I shan’t be posting again for a while, although will have access to the internet so I can at least respond to anything anyone posts.

I did not fear death, or even dying. It is there, after all, and we all reach it at some point. I did not want to reach it so soon, and I did not want to cause distress to family and friends; indeed, so sudden was the whole thing that I could not even tell some good friends, and am grateful for those, here, and elsewhere, who took on the hard task of telling people.

There was a moment, just over a week ago, when I thought that was it. If it was His will, then I was ready to bow to it – after all, I would be going home, and have many people there with whom I look forward to being reunited – and for my friends here, well it would be but a short while before we were united again. But, for whatever reason, God decided it was not my time, although, as the medics keep telling me, it may well be, and soon, as the cancer may return as mysteriously as it seems to have gone; bless them, you can’t expect a medic to believe in miracles.

I do believe in them, and in my case they come, at least in part, through the dedicated care of doctors and nurses – and hospital chaplains – as well as the prayers of friends and family. We are, as people, so much better than we sometimes allow ourselves to be in the press of everyday life, and during times like the one I have just been through, you see people at their best, as they set aside the ephemera of every day and focus on what we can do best when we act in the image of God – that is the giving of love and of care. As one reaches some kind of extremisΒ time changes, it ceases to be linear. There were times when it moved swiftly, times it moved so slowly minutes seemed like days; and, in my condition, times when whole days vanished in a morphine-induced oblivion.

But He was with me, His rod and His staff comforted me, and I did, indeed, feel led by still waters to green pasture. Not once did I feel alone. Your prayers were with me, and so was the Lord Jesus. Now, I want to spend more time with Him, not perhaps, in the way I thought I would a week ago – and thank you to all who have said how glad they are for that.

Now, as I go on a convalescent retreat and investigate my vocation, I can do one thing for you all – pray for each and every one of you.

Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with you, and with your spirit, Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now – and at the hour of our death. Amen.