2 August 2012
What is God trying to make of us in our later years? How can we make some sense of their diminishment and pain? Can the often bitter water of these years ever be turned into wine?
Old age is terrifying to most of us: we need help to navigate it well. Occasionally we meet wisdom figures who help us to see the way forward, people who have come to terms with the reality of their own ageing. They are just themselves; they are not ‘difficult’ – or at least not for long.
Love flows through them to those around, even if they’ve had a stroke and can hardly talk. If you can find such people, try to be like them. If you can become as they are, you will be a blessing for the world.
Some level of experience of God as being good is needed in order to face the final stage of our journey. From God – whether we recognise it or not – there comes to us ‘all that is good’ (Eucharistic Prayer 4).
We do well to reflect on this. We come to see that our development to our present stage of life required us to let go of previous, comfortable stages. While we may have resisted, something – or someone! – was pushing us on till eventually we had to let go. This pushing was for our good – like the pushing involved in giving birth. It brought us to something better.
This process continues in our final years. The final push and letting go, which is our dying, will bring us something incomparably better than we now have. Only with empty hands can we grasp what is before us.
A wise and good God orchestrates our ageing. So we can entrust ourselves to the process, believing that God will reveal to us new vistas of what human life is truly about, what ‘no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived – what God has prepared for those who love him’ (1 Corinthians 2:9).
This reflection was taken from the prayer website of the Irish Jesuits, www.sacredspace.ie downloaded July 9, 2012.