WE GROW OLDER ONE DAY AT A TIME, BUT THEN COMES THE ANNIVERSARY THAT REMINDS YOU THAT YOU ARE OLDER BY A YEAR

Eugene’s musings about his 60th birthday and age need no commentary today.

August 1: Nothing special today except that I finish my 59th year. This is how we approach the end almost without even noticing it. We grow older one day at a time, but then comes the anniversary that reminds you that you are older by a year, and each year the number grows and eventually surprises you because in this rapid progression nothing seemed changed, neither in the strength of the body nor in the mind.

If the mirror had been consulted, it could have called one’s attention to the irreparable ravages of the years, but I use this piece of furniture only to hastily get rid of an unwelcome beard; besides, the mirror shows you nearly as you were the day before and who is going to reflect on the more orless beauty, more or less freshness of one’s face. And so I fall into the sixties. It would almost be better not to know it, because it seems that is the end of life, and then where to find the courage to do something? It takes an effort of the will, powerfully stimulated by the grace of God.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 1 August 1841, EO XX

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1 Response to WE GROW OLDER ONE DAY AT A TIME, BUT THEN COMES THE ANNIVERSARY THAT REMINDS YOU THAT YOU ARE OLDER BY A YEAR

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    The picture of him here is how he must have looked as he prepared to send missionaries off to Canada. On the eve of his birthday he speaks of finding the courage to do something. I wonder if he was thinking possible men who might be suited to go to Canada. Eugene had never lacked an effort of will and I think of how the grace of God was a powerful stimulant for him during his lifetime.

    I think of his comments about the mirror and how I too do not really look at myself in the mirror deeply – except to see if it is time for another haircut. Last night I had the occasion to see myself in a video speaking to a group. I was surprised not so much by the wrinkles and the grey colour of my hair but more with seeing the gentleness in my face and hearing the softness of my voice. In another week it will be my 71st birthday and with each successive birthday in the last 10 years I have noticed that I am increasingly content with what God has given to me and that my birthdays are occasions for reflecting and rejoicing in who I have become and giving thanks for God having created me as God did. There is such a sweetness to life in spite of the challenges and struggles that accompany the contentment of walking with my beloved.

    I look again at Eugene and see the man who was more than bishop, or senator of his country: I see the man who was a founder and father to his many sons and now all of his sons and daughters, a friend and a companion. I think of Eugene’s words as he died, about dying happy at being founder of such a vast family And I am sure that when I do die, that I will be happy at having been a member of his Mazenodian Family.

    Approaching the eve of my own birthday I give thanks to God for Eugene having been the man he was and continues to be in our hearts.

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