Desert Nuns

Eternal Youth

November 23, 2012 by  
Filed under Nun News Blog

Visitors here, Visitors there, Visitors everywhere!
We were blessed to have lots of visitors the last few weeks. Sr. Genevieve Glen, 4 PCPAs from TX, 2 CFRs (Fr. Gabriel and Br. Seamus), Fr. Jim Parker, and a Partridge in a Pear Tree!

“Nothing assures and establishes ‘eternal youth’ (in the most literal sense of the word) as does the theological virtue of hope.  It alone is able to provide man with the unalienable possession of that inner tension that is both relaxed and taut, that elasticity and agility, that stouthearted freshness, that resilient joyousness, that composed bravery of confidence, which distinctly characterize a young person and thus make him loveable.” – Josef Pieper, A Brief Reader on the Virtues of the Human Heart

Spending time with my nieces (ages 6 to newborn) is always an enlightening (and highly enjoyable) experience.  They quite unknowingly are my great teachers.  They are full of expectation, in the purest sense of the word.  Full of expectation and hope.  Their hope (and perhaps the hope alive in every child’s heart) is born from an unyielding confidence in love.

We see in our culture a desperate straining to be ‘forever young’.  But whether through magic wrinkle repellant or eternal youth potion, what we grasp at is something false: a facade of youth.  Could it be that the maddening desire for the fountain of youth is actually – at its deepest heart – a desire for the fountain of life?  Could it be that more we grasp at and desire to possess youth, the further we distance ourselves from that for which we long?

What I admire in my small nieces is not so much their smooth skin and non-greyed hair!  What I admire is their zest for life.  Each moment is a vehicle for delight.  Each day is exciting and new.  Imaginations undimmed by disappointment, eyes undimmed by evil, hearts undimmed by sin!  Children know how to live.  They know how to delight.

“A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grownup people are not strong enough to exult in monotony.

But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony.  It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them.

It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.” – G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

I dare to assert that Our Father put something of this ‘eternal appetite for infancy’ deep within us.  Sadly it has become distorted and is so widely abused and misunderstood.  But it is there and it cannot be ignored.  Will we run after the eternal youth potion that will always leave us disappointed or will we run after the fierce and free spirit of eternal childhood that ultimately leads us to God?

“If I should walk through the valley of death I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” Psalm 23

This is at the heart of our hope.  This is at the heart of what it means to be a child.

A belated Happy Thanksgiving to All!  And an early Happy Feast of Christ the King!

 

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2 Responses to “Eternal Youth”
  1. Donnakay Nault says:

    Dear Sisters,

    I just wanted to wish a BIG happy 40th to Sr. Marie St. Paul!!!! Welcome to “middle aged” Sister!!! God Bless one and all, and Merry Christmas!!!!

    Donna from Massachusetts

  2. James says:

    40th no less! Would you tell Sr. Marie St. Paul that its all over I’m afraid 🙁

    and there’s no looking back 🙂
    Moving forward. Well as they say life begins at 40, so with that in-mind: may she have another 40, with all the blessings of God.

    The first picture is BEAMING with sunshine; those pearly smiles.. if only you could find a way to bottle them and share them: the world would be a much happier place. 🙂

    I have to say that’s some turkey! I wonder what poor soul had to wrestle it.. haha. You ladies are truly blessed in abundance.

    To be a child in spirit is to be with god. There is an everlasting, communion, biding when we receive the Holy Spirit. We must soar high with the love of the Holy Spirit, as represented as a dove.

    There is no doubt of loves validity in the eyes of a child for it longs it, needs it, but the world can dim its love and become a dark, uncaring place, and as such they can turn away later in the life in pursuit of other empty pleasures, and doubt the sincerity of someones full love, their father, mother sisters, brothers and in doing so i.e. God – that which binds us whole – which was written on their hearts from the beginning. Which is why the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these, as Jesus said.

    Much love!

    James

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