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“My body is dying but I am not”

Stuart Rogerson ,70, lives in Strathaven. He is a former Church of Scotland minister who converted to Catholicism. He is dying of cancer.

Conversion

I was a Church of Scotland minister, ill-health ended my ministry in 1999 and I retired due to ill-health in 2001. Around 1978 studying ecclesiastical history at Glasgow University in preparation for ordination in 1980, I felt God calling me to Catholicism. However it was impractical due to family and young children.

God knew the seed had been planted. Every year I hoped the door would open to allow my dream to come true. I waited. And waited. It seemed impossible it would ever happen.

In 2013 the door was flung open and I was received into the church in my own home on December 13.

Why am I Catholic? Our Lord called me, I answered. The only member of my family who is a Catholic. I came home. I came because however awful it may be at times it is the home of Apostolic Truth and the Blessed Sacrament.

Daily life

I wake, say the Our Father and Glory Be. I get up, start the Divine Office which I follow throughout the day. Attend online Mass every day. Pray the Jesus prayer throughout the day.

I am housebound and more or less chair-bound all day. I have oesophageal cancer and can only consume liquid foods like strained porridge and strained soup which is still hard.

I devote most of the day to prayer and meditation and share some thoughts occasionally on Twitter. Our Lord is very close and I am at peace. I offer my discomfort and what I am going through to the Lord, for all the prayer requests on Twitter, for Ukraine, for the needs of others.

My life is ending but Our Lord still has use of me. I have an ever increasing number of people I pray for daily. My priest brings me the Precious Blood most weeks as I can no longer consume the Host.

My faithful Eucharistic minister comes as a friend now and my daughters and grandchildren pop in regularly for brief visits. And my wife is my constant strength, companion and carer.

Social media

From Twitter I have received love, support, prayer, and friendship with fellow Christians across the globe. A pillow of prayers. Total surprise that I seem to be helping some people in what is truly a very ordinary experience of a very ordinary man.

Facing the end

I had always asked Our Lord to grant me knowledge of my own death so that I could prepare myself and far more importantly have the conversations I wanted to have with those I hold most dear.

I prayed too for years that I would be granted a good death to be able to show to others that there need be no fear. My body is dying, crumbling, fading away – but I am not. God breathed me into existence and now I am being prepared to be born from the womb of this life into eternal life.

I will offer it all, be it good and peaceful or painful and awful, all to God. I am in His hands. I knew last summer I was soon to die long before confirmation of that this year. Our Lord is gracious and kind and merciful.

Some advice

Give your life over to the Lord and listen, surrender your own plans and offer your life to Our Lord – and love with all your heart and mind the one who breathed you into being. Trust Him. Don’t worry. Memento Mori. By grace you will be led through the joys and sorrows that await you. Life is brief, a shadow of what is to come.

You can follow Stuart on Twitter @AugustineSDR

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