Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Growing Old Prayer

I do not want to be old before my time. I do not want to be an early retiree
or to fail to give all my energy to your service in my remaining years,
but I cannot deny the decades gone and the limited years ahead.
I feel more fragile, more vulnerable.

In my youth, there were so many days, months, yes years that seemed to lie ahead
that I fooled myself with illusions of immortality. Now I know the years are numbered,
and I sense in a new way that each day is a gift not to be presumed but to be cherished.

My relationship with you has always sustained me, directed me, and given me hope,
but too often I have neglected it, presumed it was there, and failed to nourish it.

Even my commitment to ministry seemed too often a product of compulsion
rather than zeal, of a desire to be esteemed rather than a desire to serve.

But this is less a time for regrets and self-criticisms
and more a time for gratitude and renewed commitments.

This is a time to deepen my relationship with you
and to be more attentive to your presence in my everyday life.

This is a time to be with you Lord,
and to invite you to be with me.

This is a time to surrender my life into your hands
and to discover that my name is written on the palm of your hand.

This is a time to tend to my deepest desires so that I can discover your desires for me.

This is a time to think about home and where my heart is and to unearth my treasure.

This is a time for abiding in you and noticing how you abide in me.

This is a time for harvesting and a time for planting new seeds
in the sure hope that you will give them growth.

Jesus, you said to Peter: ‘When you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt
and go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands,
and someone will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go’
John 21:18).

Lord, be with me as I grow old. Lead me, guide me
and draw me ever closer to your heart for only there will I find peace
and the assurance of life eternal. Amen.

Gerald M. Fagin, SJ is Associate Professor of Theology and Spirituality at the
Loyola Institute for Ministry, Loyola University, New Orleans. He has been involved
in the ministry of spiritual direction for thirty years and, for the past twenty years,
he has co-directed an internship in spiritual direction at the New Orleans Archdiocesan
Spirituality Center. This prayer was taken from his article “The Spiritual Exercises
and the Later Years” The Way, 43/1 (January 2004), p.78-79.

1 comment:

paula said...

It is a wonderful thing this life. you would actually think someone planned the way it should go. infancy to learn to walk crawl, youth to run with reckless abandon, young adulthood to procreate and begin to feel the blessings of life anew, parenthood to know what it is to walk the line and hold life and death in your hands, lol....and as we age to see our progeny start the cycle and try to do better than ourselves and we as we sit back and our own bodies entrap us so that the only thing we can do in contemplate where the hell we've been and what else there is to do and say a beautiful prayer like this one.

Thanking God and the heavens everyday for this day and what may come and only hope we can give more and help more our loved ones and those around you roberta ...oxoxox