Friday, March 25, 2022

Older and Older

Birthdays come, and birthdays go. But, as time goes by, each successive birthday is that much more appreciated. As Pope Saint John XXIII wrote, sometime after turning 70, "the bell has rung for Vespers and our best course is to hold ourselves ready in loving expectation for any summons."

A suitably sober and sensible thought to consider today on my 74th birthday today! 

The advent of yet another septuagenarian birthday invites me to reflect more upon the experience of what James Pope-Hennessy famously called "life in the sunset." If the ordinary experience of the weaknesses and physical limitations associated with old age didn't automatically activate a certain sensibility about one's final destiny, the calamities of these past two years dominated by a world-wide pandemic and now by war in Europe have further focused the mind, with a renewed appreciation of every present occasion and opportunity. In the words of the great 17th-century French Jesuit Jean-Pierre de Caussade (1675-1751), “To be satisfied with the present moment is to relish and adore the divine will moving through all we have to do and suffer as events crowd in upon us.”

That said, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to me!

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