We are all growing old: is there a way of doing this gracefully? In a bulletin for priests a Maryknoll priest writes about a one day seminar that the Maryknoll Fathers had in Korea at the end of last year-- conducted by Brother Wayne Fitzpatrick who is in charge of the Office of Life Long Formation for the Society.
ourselves, and those we live with, depends a great deal on how
we grow old. This is, no doubt, the thinking of the Society for
preparing the one day seminar. We were given some articles to read; we heard a number of talks, Brother, asked some
questions of the group and we discussed some areas that he had covered
in his talks.
One of the papers mentioned Carl Jung who
said that in retirement the most important element is our spiritual
outlook on life. We may be led to think that our strong points when
young will be a great help in our retirement years, but Jung did not
think this was the case. What was true when young is not necessarily so
Many things change with time. We also have to
change. We need to get rid of harmful fixed ideas, and open ourselves
to new ways of thinking. When we look back on our lives we recall
many things we have learned, and because of them have become wiser.
We know from experience that to die to ourselves is to begin living--Paschal Mystery.
should begin preparing for retirement when young. Without plans we will
not know what to do and be confused when the time arrives. We should
be able to go on doing what we want depending on the
condition of our health.
There are those that after
retirement adapt well to their new life but there are also those that do
not. Our health will have a lot to do with the way we enter
retirement; old age and our bodily infirmities will have a big influence
on our life, but our faith life is always there to give us strength.
Being, is important, our natural disposition is more important than
our external actions for with the right internal disposition the right actions
will follow. Brother stressed the positive outlook on life, and listed 9 points that he wanted us to consider:
attitude, love, friendships, keep on dreaming, forgive, give
ourselves to others, faith- gratitude for the gift of life, continue
to discover the meaning of life, and achieving a balance in life.
need leisure in life. Our spirit should not get old. We should learn to rest while working. "Pause a while and know that I am God...."
Besides the activity in life we need to acknowledge the receptivity in
life. There is the possibility that we will be faced with a time when
we can only receive, and without preparation in life this will be
difficult. There has to be a balance between the active and the
receptive which is a form of the contemplative life.
is not something that will come naturally but we have to prepare for
it. Growing old gracefully is both a science and an art.