February Reflection – Maryanne Hall – LCM Associate – Sydney
Even to your old age I am he,
and to grey hairs I will carry you I have made,
and I will bear.
I will carry and will save. (Isaiah 46.4)
It has suddenly dawned on me. I am getting older! I have a great niece on the way and certainly feel it some days. Medication verging on polypharmacy, and I am even pondering retirement. Getting older is a little scary. I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know I will gain strength and support from my faith. A path to faith fortunately given to me by grandparents and parents. People who I hold dear in my life and thank very much.
Recently I had the privilege of listening to a 91-year-old gentleman interviewed on ABC radio. He had been a senior cleric in the Uniting Church. He talked about his long life. Always a social justice campaigner he was now championing the Rights of Aboriginal People, the vote for The Voice and for Women’s Rights. He marvelled at the changes that have occurred for women since the 1930’s. Women can now have a career; they can even become prime minister! He witnessed the passing of legislation for equal pay for women in the 70’s – although this is still an issue – it has improved! The current prime minister has advised him to ring if feels he is on the wrong track. This man is highly regarded. As we age many may not be able to be as well, active, or as appreciated as this gentleman.
In January 2020, Pope Francis said, “old age is not a disease, it’s a privilege”, and catholic dioceses and parishes miss a huge and growing resource if they ignore their senior members.” He said the church must be there to offer a helping hand if needed, benefit from the gifts of the elderly and work to counter social attitudes that see the old as useless burdens on society.
“Today I want to tell you that the elderly are the present and the tomorrow of the church.” “In the bible, longevity is a blessing.” It is a time to face one’s fragility and to recognise how reciprocal love and care within a family really are. ncronline.org – accessed www 27/01/23
I do know as I age there may be many challenges. I know my faith is a great privilege and will help me through this period in my life.
An excerpt of a prayer by Sr. Moya Hanlen on Ageing
All Gracious God, you have given me all I am and have,
and now I give it back to you to stand under Your will alone.
In a special way I give You these later years of my life.
I am one of those called by You into old age, a call not given to all,
not given to Jesus, not given to most in our world today.
I humbly ask You, grace me deeply in each aspect of the struggle.
Finally, as my heart slows a little after the work of the years,
may it expand in love for You and all people.
May it rest secure and grateful in Your loving Heart
until I am lost in You, completely and forever. Amen.
Prayers for Aging (xavier.edu) – accessed www 27/1/23