Reading St. John of the Cross again, at a older age, makes me realize that the world today conspires to separate the middle-aged from their true vocation in life. At a certain stage, I would say between 55-60, to begin with an arbitrary set of five years, the older person's life changes from being concerned with the outward life, such as making money, buying a house, getting married, raising a family, taking care of parents, etc. to a slower paced yet infinitely important time of life. This is the time for the development of the interior life. Without this time, a person does not reach the perfection necessary to avoid purgatory, nor does that person come into the union with God, which is possible for all.
In my mini-series on perfection, Garrigou-Lagrange repeats that all Catholics are called to this higher call of oneness with God. This call, as I have described on this blog before now, is for the many, not the few.
In the time of middle-age, the pursuit of the active, exterior life should melt away into an inner energy of the building of the interior life. Now,in this day and age of financial unrest, many middle-aged people, including myself, find that we must keep working longer than we thought, as pensions have been cut, or have disappeared entirely. The restless pursuit of the necessary, food, lodging and so on, must continue later than the baby-boomers planned. This is a serious threat to our interior growth, so important for learning and obtaining love.
The society is against us, with the false, siren call of early retirement or incessant travelling. In fact, a financial crisis may help some people my age simply stay at home, and read, pray or wow, even study their Faith.
The restlessness of youth must be supplanted by a time of reflection and withdrawal from the world. If this does not happen, the Catholic cannot grow.
Being involved in parish duties is fine, but unless there is the awareness that the interior life is like a plant which needs tending on a daily basis, the spiritual life will wither and die in the spiritual life, there is no status quo--only going forward or going back.
My advice is to simplify. Husbands and wives in the empty nest, help each other pray and meditate. If one must work, the other must help that one to time and energy for this interior life. This must be considered a priority.
The metaphysics of love demands that we are purified by active and passive transformation. We can cooperate with God in the active purification, by giving time and energy to prayer and study. As I have said before here, we need to cooperate with grace, and God only comes to those who ask Him to come. The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit is given to all Catholics in the sacraments of the Church. But, the Holy Spirit will not work against our will. Actively, we seek God. Then, passively, we receive His gifts, His Love. But, this takes focus, the focus of the interior life.
to be continued.....