Magazine article U.S. Catholic

The Gift of Years

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

The Gift of Years

Article excerpt


By Joan Chittister (Bluebridge, 2008)


"Few persons know how to be old," said Francois La Rochefoucauld more than 300 years ago, and it is still true. To help you learn, Joan Chittister, a distinguished lecturer and writer on the spiritual life, offers a generous and accessible message about growing old. At 72 she stands at the threshold of what she argues may be the most interesting time of life, recognizing some of the concerns, fears, and foibles of the age and addressing each with wisdom.

"Let us then be up and doing" is the maxim that guides us through our work years--but in the later years of a well-lived life, our concern is no longer about doing, it is about being. "When you look within, what do you see?" Chittister asks. Someone generous, honest, merciful, caring? What will be your legacy? The word has nothing to do with wills, lawyers, bank accounts, or who gets Aunt Martha's amethyst earrings. Your legacy is the "immaterial enrichment your life has contributed to those who follow: what you have loved, cared for, valued, or given away"

Chittister suggests that you dip into this book of meditations as the moment suggests, looking among the chapter headings for something relevant. …

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