A priest contemplating retirement in future years introduces his readers to his reflection on the future in an article in Bible & Life magazine.
One day while giving a retreat, he received a telephone call from a religious sister asking if he would say Mass for them. He looked at his schedule and since he was busy at that time, told them he had another commitment and was sorry, he would have to refuse. A few hours later he was giving a talk that made him recall the refusal.
Jesus on the mount of Gethsemane said to his disciples: "Pray that you will not fall into temptation." That temptation, he says, was to be concerned only for oneself and not to see the problems of others. Jesus was sweating drops of blood and they were tired and wanted to sleep and didn't perceive the anguish that Jesus was dealing with.
If he was a little bit more concerned with the needs of others who were asking for help with a little change in his schedule he could have accommodated the sister who called. He was concerned only about himself and fell into temptation.
A few days before in a retreat for priests, one of the priests expressed his concern for the years of retirement that were approaching. He found no good examples to imitate. Choosing a retirement home for priests is difficult for a person who has lived his whole life alone. Going to a country area and living near a mission station and helping with the pastoral work for the community makes it difficult for the pastor of the area. To farm a small area of land in the countryside is another possibility but they are all big steps to make.
After retirement, there is a possibility of 20 to 30 years of life. One needs health if not to be a burden on others. So, hold back and take care of yourself so that you will be prepared for retirement. Using all your energy to live a long life is not what is important and not to worry about life after retirement but to give yourself completely to the work that you are now doing. Isn't this the best preparation for retirement?
The writer mentioned his own present problem with health. He has a growth in his throat that will take a long time for healing and has been told by his doctor to cut back on its use. His work requires that he give talks leaving him with a serious conundrum.
One of his classmates mentioned to him: "Present society has for its icon, preserving health. One's health is of primary importance." Health and living a long time becomes one's greatest interest. Resurrection and God's kingdom disappears. This world and ourselves become all important. The desire to do what is difficult and need for sacrifice is forgotten.
Each day at Mass Jesus says through the lips of the priest: "Take this, all of you and eat of it for this is my body which will be given up for you." He hears from the inside the voice of Jesus: "What are you going to do???"