Friday, October 9, 2015

Carpe Diem! -- Unselfishly

Today is a big day -- a new decade begins for me.

I am 50!

I remember -- and you do, too -- when that teacher in school who was over, say, 30 was "ancient".

Funny thing is, I don't feel ancient. And, I've actually thought about this quite a bit on my approach to 50.

My mom is 90 years old -- do the math, she had me when she was 40. And, she will repeatedly tell me that but for her tired body, she doesn't "feel" her age. The interior impression of herself is still very young.

That's a tremendous gift -- and it's a wisdom for each of us on our journey to cling to in order to keep moving forward on our way with joy. And how exactly do we do that?

Carpe Diem!

It's such a simple little phrase. Seize the Day! This is taken from Horace in Odes, Book I:

Dum loquimur, fugerit invida
Aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero
It means, to paraphrase:

While we converse, time is fleeing: seize the day and put little trust in the future.

(caveat: Latin Scholar, I am not -- do not criticize)

Matthew's Gospel offers us this: "Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself." (Mt. 6:34)

It's so easy, especially when you are faced with the challenges of getting older, i.e.:
  • Preparing to send your children out into the world
  • Health issues
  • Caring for an elderly parent
  • Moving from working to retiring, etc.
 to forget that the future is not in our control. If we are concerned for the future, we need to look to those who have navigated it well, and remember that God's holding our tomorrows in His hand. We have to live this day, this moment well as the Gospel of Matthew reminds us.

It's a deceit perpetrated by Satan himself to befuddle the mind and drive away hope. That's the worldly interpretation of carpe diem -- who cares, do what you please, this day may be your last, defy authority, enter into whatever presents itself with defiance. This is a false assertion of freedom disregarding the dignity of man -- a lonely and isolated existence without hope. If all I have is this world, and my moments count nothing more than for personal pleasure and gain, then I am dead.

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal." (Mt 6: 19) The Gospel reminds us of just how pointless it is to live for material gain. Our purpose is loftier, our presence is richer, our future is brighter than the collection and utilitarian  consumption of worldly things.

The Gospel of Matthew continues:

"All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides." (Mat 6: 32-33)

The Kingdom -- in our souls, marked in Baptism and Confirmation, sealed to be His own, heirs of the Kingdom. With this knowledge, why would we seek to be kings in this world? How many people do we need to witness head down the path of destruction before we realize that we are ordained to a higher purpose as heirs to the Kingdom?

Carpe Diem!

Live today -- seize it -- at 50 or 90 or 10 -- seeking the kingdom, the glory of God, in all we do. Put on the armor of God (cf. Eph 6: 10), and with confidence take on this day and make it your gift to God in return for His goodness. Don't let age, illness, or the constraints and problems of this life bog you down. This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it! ( cf. Ps 118: 24)

And as a dear friend has shown me in her marvelously joyful way all week -- Embrace it!

Embrace the comfort, embrace the beauty, embrace the nuttiness even!

Embrace it all and grow in age, grace and wisdom in imitation of our Lord (cf. Lk 2:52) each and every day.

Thank you, Dear Lord, for all your gifts to me. Although I may not see the struggles as gifts all the time, I know that they are truly for my benefit, so that I, and those around me, may be sanctified, grow closer, and live with You in eternal joy forever. Amen.

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