by Father Daniel A. Lord, 1950’s
Part One is here.
Part Three is here.
As for the interest that will keep you youthfully alive, why “the world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as [and far more responsive and alert and alive than] kings.”
A painter may be—and many are—a perfect dullard in everything but his painting. But the fact that he is so keenly interested in subjects for fresh canvases and in precisely the technique by which he will imprison the new beauties of those subjects in undying color makes him vividly alive, perpetually young.
A scientist may have for his field of research only one small fraction of the universe, but the exhaustlessness of the fraction keeps him young, alive. He dare not grow old; there is too much to learn in this intriguing field. He will stay young; his mind is too active to permit him to shrivel and mummify.
Doomed to Grow Old
One of the curses of our modern industrialism is just this fact: For eight hours a day (or whatever the number of hours that the union permits) too many millions of men and women work and slave at jobs that from their souls they almost hate. They stand at a punch machine. They put nuts and bolts together. They count bottles. They paste labels. They sit at the wheel of a tractor. They drive the shuttle subway train back and forth between two bleak stations.
And in the grind of a few dull years they grow prematurely old. It would seem that they exist for the sole purpose of doing something that they fiercely dislike. They are not alive when they are working. They die by degrees at the machine that masters and dominates them.
Yet even these men and women could save themselves, could stay alive and remain young if there were something else in their lives that filled their leisure time (each of us has a portion of it these days) with interest.
But only when we have developed education to a point where it concerns itself less with how a man makes money and far, far more with how he lives, less with his job and more with what he does when he is free and at leisure, what joys and hobbies and interests fill his non-working hours, only then will education help to keep men and women young.
What interests should you have? What interests and enthusiasms will keep you young? How could I possibly enumerate them?
There is the absorbing interest of getting something, anything, done . . . anything from building a skyscraper to turning out an excellent enlargement of a pet negative, from building bridges to laying out a tennis court or training a hunting dog, from writing a novel to playing the piano well enough to have a bowing acquaintance with important music, from mastering some important scientific problem—the cure for a disease, the analysis of the atom, the control of weather conditions in a certain farm area—to gathering first editions or triangular stamps or china or matchbox covers.
Man is essentially a creator. He must be doing things, making things. Modern industry has largely deprived him of the opportunity to create. He no longer makes a carriage; he simply stamps the trademark on the hubs of the wheels. He no longer carves a statue; he handles the lever of a machine that presses out on tin ash trays profiles of Krazy Kat.
Until man recaptures his right to create a thing completely, to fashion the whole of a beautiful or useful object, he will grow old at the workbench and exhausted at the machine. That is why, if one wants to retain one’s youth, it is so tremendously important to select for one’s career a job in which one can accomplish an entire work, whatever that work may be—saving souls or bodies, making music or statuettes.
For creation is the great renewer of the creator’s youth. So parents live again in their children; authors find their life renewed in their books; the great builders of the world have remained young in heart and mind and aspiration and effort until the day they died.
Youth From People
Then there’s the youth-giving interest in people. Mothers experience that in most astonishing ways; if their children give to them even a fairly decent return of love and devotion, mothers often remain remarkably young.
The man who is interested in people has a limitless means of keeping his soul alive. Great lawyers remain young. Great doctors, despite their heavy work and often dangerous exposure to all sorts of peril, keep, as long as they are sincerely interested in the people for whom they are working, youthful hearts and fresh outlooks.
Blessed the man or the woman whose work throws him or her with young people and who thus endlessly renews his or her youth.
There are undoubtedly men and women who keep young by collecting, not stamps and bric-a-brac and menus, but varied associations with their fellow men. And they have in that hobby a youth-reviving and youth-sustaining interest.
Intelligent readers have an aliveness of mind that keeps them young. Collectors, unless they come to be pedantic specialists —out of touch with life itself and valuing the thing for itself and not for its association with human beings—often remain young.
So there are a thousand different ways of keeping that alertness of mind and aliveness of soul that are the basis of youth and the revivifying fountain that perpetuates youthfulness. The listless and the uninterested, the surfeited and the blasé, men and women who lose their enthusiasms because they have too much of life’s goods or too hopelessly little—these are the ones who grow old. There is no real reason why any intelligent person should be numbered among them.
But I stated earlier that as a group the saints were delightfully young. That brings to mind one of Christ’s most surprising paradoxes. The world to which Christ spoke was a very old, tired world. Paganism was old, as paganism is always old.
Its gods were dead or dying; its faith was gone; wearily it let slip even its human rights and yielded to tyrants who gave in return for youthful freedom bread and circuses; it had little hope in humanity, slaves most of them, soldiers, prostitutes, the wretchedly poor; it distrusted its philosophers to such an extent that it laughed at the word Sophia (wisdom) and flung at those who professed to teach wisdom the epithet Sophists.
The Jewish world was old. It had waited very, very long for the coming of the Messiah. Its religion had grown stiff and formal, encrusted with all the customs and the traditions of a wearisome past. Its law, growing out of ancient pride, had solidified into a matter of strict forms and meaningless ablutions and fringes; and out of this very rigidity had come a kind of limpness, a despair of humanity.
While a man was not expected to lift a finger on the Sabbath, not even to heal a friend, he could not be asked to remain faithful to his wife.
Christ’s Dear Command
It was an old, weary world, far older and wearier than ever it has been in the centuries since that time. It was to that world that Christ addressed His astonishing paradox.
Taking a child into His arms, He looked up at the grey-bearded Pharisees and the weary-eyed Roman soldiers and said: “Unless you . . . become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
He calmly announced that His followers must not only be young and stay young; they must be actually childlike. No wonder the weary soldiers of Rome and the custom-encrusted scribes and Pharisees turned away from this man who demanded that His followers be born again of water and the Holy Ghost and remain like little children all the days of their life.
Let Go and Let God take care of things….
Coloring pages for your children….
Beautiful Vintaj Brass Blessed Mother Wire Wrapped Rosaries! Lovely, Durable…
Each link is handmade and wrapped around itself to ensure quality. Available here.
Here, Baroness Maria Augusta Trapp tells in her own beautiful, simple words the extraordinary story of her romance with the baron, their escape from Nazi-occupied Austria, and their life in America.
Now with photographs from the original edition.
Most people only know the young Maria from The Sound of Music; few realize that in subsequent years, as a pious wife and a seasoned Catholic mother, Maria gave herself unreservedly to keeping her family Catholic by observing in her home the many feasts of the Church’s liturgical year, with poems and prayers, food and fun, and so much more!
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