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Preparing to age, spiritually

Preparing to age, spiritually

Just as physical exercise can help us stay fit longer and prepare for the physical effects of aging, so, too, spiritual exercising can help us prepare for the transition in our relationship with God and with others, on a spiritual level.  Whether we are 50 or 70, we can prepare for what is to come.
By reflecting upon the blessings and challenges of aging, we can assess at this time what our desires are, as we age.

We can say to ourselves, “I want to grow in my ability to be open to what is to come in the future, by beginning to pray for the grace to surrender to the Lord more and more at this time of my life, so that I’ll be more comfortable with living out those graces in the future.”

We might acknowledge, “I’m recognizing that I can be fairly impatient and inflexible these days.  I don’t want to get worse, when I get older.  I want to begin asking the Lord for the grace to let go more and to place my life in God’s hands, with each challenging experience of my day, of my life.”

Very specific desires are very helpful:  “I’ve been simply feeling more and more selfish these days.  I really don’t have terrible burdens to carry, but I have been feeling a lot of self-pity.  I can’t imagine what an older, more struggling version of me will look like in the future.  I really need to take a concrete turn here.  I need to make a list of what I have to be grateful for and start practicing new behaviors for when I slip into those patterns.”

A growing desire might be expressed in the form of a prayer:  “Lord, I have put off growing in simple intimacy with you.  I have lots of excuses, most of them legitimate.  My life has been busy.  I haven’t always stayed close to you or let you be close to me in my daily life.  I don’t want to wait until I have a heart attack, or find out I have cancer, dementia or some other illness or disability, before I try growing closer to you.  Let me have the graces I need to develop and feel a closeness and growing dependence upon you now, to prepare for the time, later, when my life will really be in your hands.”

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