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THE SUFFERINGS AND JOYS OF OLD AGE

Cicero, in his treatise De Senectute (About Old Age), tells of the joys of old age but says little of the sufferings that generally accompany it. These, both physical and mental, are often of such a nature that they allow of few, if any, of such purely natural consolations as may be in some instances and to some degree experienced. The Psalmist (Ps. 89:10) has told us: “The days of our age are three score years and ten [70 years]; and though may be strong that they come to fourscore [80] years: yet is their strength then but labour and sorrow.” We are familiar with the saying, “A man is as old as he feels.” While a man of eighty may still possess much of the energy of youth and continue working with his intellect, and with his bodily strength still so great that he can take for his recreation and exercise, as did the Victorian statesman, W. E. Gladstone, the felling of trees, yet there are many more who when still in their sixties are “in labour and sorrow”, and are either bedridden or at best can only get about in a bath-chair.

The humiliations that may accompany old age

The physical sufferings that may accompany old age are too numerous to mention, but whatever be their number or nature, they may be more endurable than the mental afflictions and humiliations to which old men are frequently subjected. These old men are fully conscious, for instance, that young men often regard them as antiques, out-dated, doddering old scarecrows, who might with advantage be consigned to a lethal chamber, and so cease to be a troublesome nuisance to the young and healthy world in which they are still living. The “Old Crocks” (as they are sometimes designated) are well aware that often their presence is totally disregarded, that their opinions are not sought for, and that if they do venture to express them they are received with a pitying smile, that hardly falls short of contempt. They are sometimes patronised by the young who condescend to inform them on matters with which the “Old Crocks” were well acquainted before the patronising young had even been well settled in their cradles.

A process of continual intellectual progress?

This has been an age of such material progress that there is the assumption that intellectual and spiritual progress has kept equal pace with it. The old are given to understand that they and their contemporaries did nothing of any account when they were young, and no credit is given them for the foundations on which the very moderns have built. Art and literature, such as they were understood by the “ancients”, are proclaimed by many of the young as quite démodés, and the “de-bunking” – to use the slang of to-day – of such poets, for instance, as Milton and all the romantics of the Lake School, has gone apace. Though some writers of the Victorian age, such as the Brontës, Dickens, and Trollope, are still judged worth reading, there are a great many more who are never considered, even though they wrote more interesting stories, and in far better prose than most of the stuff that so far “this brave new world” has produced.

False valuation

It is all this false valuation, and a great deal more, that the old may have to submit to now that their years are running out and they are getting nearer to Eternity, where past and present will be seen in their right perspective, that is, of no account in themselves apart from men’s accord with the will of their Creator and their faithful subjection to His paramount rule.

Getting nearer to Eternity, where past and present are seen in their right perspective

But that the old should have to end their days under such humiliations need not to be a cause for repining. On the contrary, they afford the best preparation for their death so soon at hand, if accepted in a cheerful, understanding, and patient spirit. If the old are wise they will be very merciful to the young. They will think of their own youth, of their many sins, perhaps, of sensuality and pride, of the airs of superiority that they assumed, of their self-assurance and arrogance, when they were as intolerant and contemptuous of the old as are so many of the young men of these days. Such a consideration will help them to receive in a spirit of reparation whatever form of suffering they may be asked to bear in their old age.

“Those were the days”

But there is another side to the picture. The conduct of the old may be some justification for the behaviour of the young. Unless a man is something of a saint it is hardly to be expected that he will always be able to restrain himself when he has to deal with a garrulous old man who, at tedious length, is continually speaking on the theme of “those were the days”, who repeats again and again his well-worn chestnuts of jokes, who never ends in telling of his exploits and experiences, that in his bleary eyes may appear so wonderful. In short, the old man may be what is known as “a crashing bore”, to whom all but the most charitable give a wide berth. Let him recognise this, as he can by a little closer observation, and then he will gain considerable merit by ceasing from being an affliction to others.

If the old are wise they will be very merciful to the young

Something has been said of the afflictions and humiliations to which old age is liable; but that no exaggerated picture may be drawn it must be conceded that an old man may often enjoy the solicitude and care of a devoted family, who strive to make his last years on earth as pleasant and happy as possible. Often, too, he may command the respect of the younger generation, who, knowing the good work he has done in his time and the ripe experience of his many years among a variety of men and of interests, will seek his advice and deferentially bow to his judgement. Such are some of the natural joys and consolations that may cheer the old in their declining years. But even were they absent, the supernatural joys, to a devout and fervent Catholic, more than compensate for anything he may be called upon to suffer.

A strong and ardent faith

Indeed, with a strong and ardent faith, he knows that the more he suffers with patience the more efficaciously he will make reparation for whatever has been sinful in his past life and the more certainly escape, in part or perhaps in whole, the temporal punishment and cleansing of Purgatory. What a source of joy it is to him to reflect that he is a member of Christ’s Church and has all the supernatural advantages that such a membership gives: that he can pray, and obtain the comfort of prayer: that he can renew his sorrow in confession and receive absolution for past as well as present sins: that he can be present at the great sacrifice of the Mass, the renewal of the Sacrifice of Calvary, and receive often, if not daily, the life-giving Body and Blood of Christ in the great Sacrament of the Eucharist. And in doing all this, his spiritual perceptions will become increasingly more acute, his love of God more intense, the things of this world will no longer be an occasion of sin, for he will have learnt, as the Church so often exhorts us, “to despise earthly things and to love heavenly ones”. He will understand (as perhaps never before has he understood) what an infinite and all-satisfying happiness awaits him.

Infinite and all-satisfying happiness

Living in the world of to-day, where hardships and trials of every kind have accumulated, the old man might rightly feel that they bear on him more hardly than on the comparatively young. He may have been accustomed for the greater part of his life to conditions that were far more comfortable and pleasant, but now, what with shortage of food and of fuel, to say nothing of the loss of long-enjoyed gratifications, this world can no longer be a place in which he would wish, on natural grounds, for a prolonged soujourn. And so, grown wiser with years and experience, he can prepare himself the better for release by death, a death that will hold little or no dread, for as he gets closer to God he will see it only as the entrance to that truer and fuller life which his Redeemer came on this earth to give and to give ever more abundantly.

Jesus came to give life and to give it ever more abundantly

Men cling to this world because so many of them have never even glimpsed another, but the old man who as a fervent Catholic has lived his religion will have learnt the full import of St John’s warning: “Love not the world nor the things of the world; for all that is in the world is the concupiscence of the flesh, the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life.” He has now lost all illusions.He knows that this world holds only a very small minority of God’s creatures (many of them, alas, leading a blind and stumbling life), and that in dying he will be joining the vast and overwhelming majority, among whom are countless saints, the very élite among men; the myriad ranks of archangels and angels in all the splendour of their ineffable glory; and, highest in the heavenly creation, that great and peerless Queen, the Virgin Mother of God who he can claim as his own Mother too, and, greatest of all in that resplendent company, Him who as Man was on earth his Redeemer and dearest Friend, and who as God in heaven is his inexhaustible and eternal reward.

– From: Lift Up Your Hearts, Christopher J. Wilmot, S.J., The Catholic Book Club, London, 1949

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2016 in Words of Wisdom

 

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MAKE THE LIFE OFFERING TO THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS THROUGH THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY TODAY!

“My Children! I am calling you to apostolic privilege…”

THE PRAYER OF THE LIFE OFFERING TO THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS THROUGH THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY:

“My dear Jesus, before the Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most precious Holy Blood and Your sacrifice on Calvary, hereby I offer my whole life to the intention of Your Holy Heart and to the Holy Heart of Mary.
Together with my life I place at Your disposal all the Holy Masses, all my Holy Communions, all my good deeds, all my sacrifices, and the sufferings of my entire life for the adoration and supplication of the Holy Trinity, for unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father and the priests, for good priestly vocations, and for all the souls until the end of the world.
O my Jesus, please accept my life sacrifice and my offerings and give me Your grace that I may persevere obediently until my death. Amen.”

This life offering must be done with humble heart, firm resolution, and clear intent. All prayer, good deeds, suffering, and work done with pure intention has great merit, if it is offered together with the merits, the sufferings, and the blood of Jesus Christ.
It is recommended to do this life offering as soon as you feel ready, and renew it from time to time.

THE FIVE PROMISES OF OUR HEAVENLY MOTHER TO THOSE WHO OFFER THEIR LIVES TO HER:

1. Their names will be written in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, inflamed by love.

2. Their life offerings, together with the infinite merits of Jesus, can save many souls from damnation. All souls who will live until the end of the world will benefit from their life offerings.

3. None of their family members will go to hell, even if it seems otherwise, because they will receive in the depths of their souls the graces of sincere contrition before the soul departs from their bodies.

4. On the day they offer their lives, their loved ones suffering in Purgatory will be released.

5. I will be with them in the hour of their deaths. They will not know Purgatory. I will carry their souls straight to the presence of the Glorious Trinity, where they will live with me in a special place created by God and will rejoice forever.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE LIFE OFFERING:

Our Lady illustrates symbolically what her Holy Son is asking from us: Let us give our hearts completely to our heavenly Mother who will place them into the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Eucharist, into the centre of unity of love. Thus, through our total abandonment, we will be united with the sacrifice of Jesus, and in this way His work of redemption will be perpetually continued for our souls and for the glory of God.

The messages, prayers, and promises published in this Blog post were received by a privileged Hungarian nun, a consoling soul, who in her humility and obedience to her spiritual director wishes to remain anonymous. Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion daily, or at least weekly, to offer their lives to the glory of God and to save souls, that the souls of sinners may not be damned but receive, at least in their last hour, the graces of eternal life.

WHAT TO DO NEXT:

OUR HEAVENLY MOTHER SPEAKS: “My children who offer your lives, make the act of contrition every day! Make it not only for yourselves but for all men. This will continually weaken the power of evil to tempt and will help all souls to free themselves from the slavery of sin. If you continually practise contrition for others, this will act as an antiseptic to arrest the spread of the “virus” of sin. It will stop the infection, illness and death of souls. See how great the force is in a deep contrition if it comes from the depths of the heart? It can heal, cleanse and save the life of the soul.
In addition to contrition for the whole humanity, unite yourself with my Immaculate Heart to petition with prayer, reaching to heaven, for the pardon of sins. Thus you will become united with me and become genuine and intimate helpers of Jesus as fishers of men.”

PRAYER OF CONTRITION:

“O my Jesus, I love You over and above everything!
For the love of You I am sorry for all my sins.
O merciful love, I ask pardon for all my sins and for all the sins of my brothers and sisters that have been and will be committed until the end of the world. My dear Jesus, united with Your Holy Wounds I offer my life to the Eternal Father according to the intention of the Sorrowful Mother.
Virgin Mary, Queen of the world, Mediatrix of humanity, our only refuge and hope, pray for us!”

OUR LADY’S MESSAGES TO THOSE WHO OFFER THEIR LIVES:

If the Eternal Father chooses a soul to the grace of being among the elect, He will order that soul to become similar to His Only begotten Son while on earth, but in what way should this soul be like His Son?

In love and acceptance of sufferings.

If you follow your Jesus in these two ways then the Eternal Father will recognise His Holy Son in you.

The souls chosen by the Eternal Father to offer their lives, must strive to save as many other souls as possible. This can be done through fervent prayer, through the practising of love, through meekness, humility and self denial, but above all through the patient acceptance of sufferings.
I believe that my motherly Heart will find among my children souls who love God with the love of the martyrs. “My children, even in the time of the greatest trials, hold my motherly hand with unbounded trust. Come together with me to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He is your strength in your earthly pilgrimage. Thus, strengthened by Him daily, you will march toward your eternal dwelling place of happiness where you will recognise each other in glorious ecstasy, you who sacrificed your lives for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Then my Holy Son will embrace you to His flaming Heart, and He will immerse you in the ectasy of the united love of the Trinity. In this state of eternal bliss you will rejoice forever together with those souls who were able to gain eternal life because of your selfless life sacrifice.”
“My children! Hope and love, because God is with you. My children, each offered life is pleasing to God. Therefore do not limit your sacrifice. This should be your life slogan: Give more and love better!”
The design of my Holy Son included the deeds of the elect. He is eagerly waiting to see if they fulfil His plan or cross it. He could realise His plan without them, but in His merciful goodness He wants them to participate in the distribution of the fruits of redemption throughout the world. Do you know why I am telling all this? Because I watch with great anguish the fight of the souls in the Church. It is very painful for my motherly Heart that there are many among even the elect who do not believe that God can do not believe that God can do whatever He wants! Unfortunately, they are using their knowledge not to increase faith and unity, but to encourage disbelief. You, however – my life offering children – you should believe with a living faith. You should strive to increase in your hearts the flame of faith, because when faith becomes stronger it will increase your hope and love too.

THE BENEFITS AND GRACE OF THE SUFFERINGS IN OUR LIVES

Once you surrender yourself to great sufferings of either body or soul, the experience can be a fountain of immeasurable grace. You can pay for the sins of your life, or for the things you have failed to do. Or if this has already been paid, then the merit of your patient sufferings can be applied to the conversion of hardened sinners. By that you can glorify God. The souls you save by your obedient acceptance of sufferings may even become saints.
When the weight of sufferings lies heavily on you, whether illness or suffering in the soul, think always that you are just a pilgrim on this earth. Beyond the grave there is a wonderful world that was prepared by God for His faithful children, where your happiness will be greater than that which your patient and obedient sufferings can possibly merit. As it is written: your soul will forever be immersed in such happiness that “eye has not seen, and the ear has not heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for those that love Him” (1 Cor 2:9).
No matter how heavy your suffering on earth, it will last but a short time. Rejoice while you suffer, because you are proceeding toward a sure goal, and at the end of this road your Heavenly Mother is waiting for you to embrace you with the eternal love of the Trinity.

“My children! I am calling you to apostolic privilege. You are chosen to suffer martyrdom of the heart for the sins of others. And by this voluntary life sacrifice coming from your good heart – God will be able to pour out the flood of His mercy. Think about that!”

“My dear children! You should burn with fervour to help save those who suffer in the slavery of sin. In life, captivity often results in freedom and uplifting of the soul.
But most prisoners of sin are more pitiable than those in real prison because they are not aware that they are imprisoned by their depravity, and thus they do not even ask for freedom. The blindness of the soul, with its darkness, is more pitiable than anyone in a dark prison.
I would like to free these souls. Since they do not want to be set free in order that I may save them, I need the help of my faithful children and their life offering, the patient acceptance of sufferings, trials, that, combined with the treasures of my Holy Son, will enable me to save not only your loved ones but a multitude of souls from everlasting darkness, even those who will be born later, until the end of the world.”

“My children! Give everything to me and I will give everything to my Holy Son united with my interceding prayers. I am the woman who sets the slaves free.”

THE RELEVANCE OF THE LIFE OFFERING IN HOSPITALS, NURSING HOMES, FOR THOSE SUFFERING IN THE COMMUNITY IN BODY OR SOUL:

“My children! Make sure that the great grace of the life offering will reach the souls who suffer greatly in body or in soul. It must reach the incurably sick, the physically handicapped, and the bedridden so that their suffering will not be in vain! This suffering can become a fund of gold for all humanity as well for yourselves, because in your hearts and souls you will receive peace, strength, relief, and satisfaction if you realise that patient acceptance of your sufferings will bring you great happiness in heaven!”

THE SEER: “I have obeyed this request of Our Lady and I communicated this request to sufferers. I can say from my own experience that their suffering was greatly lessened when they accepted the graces that accompanied the life offering. I visited the critically ill in hospitals, especially those who were neglected or ignored by their relatives and those who had no one. I saw the greatest suffering among cancer victims and others too sick even to get out of bed. Most of them knew there would be no cure for them, and they found their life and their suffering meaningless, believing no one needed them anymore.

But when they learned that they are the most precious children of Our Blessed Virgin Mother; that the Lord Jesus searches for companions, that Jesus calls them to unite their sufferings with His passion and sacrifice on the Cross as a continuation of His redemptive work; that they are the treasures of the Church; that by their suffering they can contribute to world peace; that by their sufferings they can pay for their sins and those of others; and that at their hour of death they will go straight to heaven without Purgatory: then the knowledge of this grace started to work in them immediately.
They started to cry for joy, because God and the Virgin Mary loved them so. Some had thought God was angry with them and was punishing them with sufferings, and there were atheists who wanted to commit suicide. But when they learned how great the grace is in the life offering, that a creature cannot give more to his or her Creator, they underwent a tremendous change. Their dispositions became so much better that even the nurses noticed it. They become hidden souls of the Lord and they persevered until the end on their live offerings. Some were cured, others departed quietly.

Every night I pray together with my good Heavenly Mother that this message will reach more and more suffering souls with the tremendous grace of the life offering that could mitigate their suffering and bring the strength, peace, and acceptance to bear their suffering on earth in the hope of everlasting happiness in heaven. Our Heavenly Mother prays for those, too, who have already received the grace of the life offering, that with a living faith they will persevere in it until death.”

 

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“O MARY, PRAY FOR ME”

O most holy Virgin Mary, who stands for ever before the Most Holy Trinity; and to whom it is granted at all times to pray for us to your most beloved Son; pray for me in all my needs; help me, beg and obtain for me the pardon of all my sins.

Help me especially at my last hour; and when I can no longer give any sign of the use of reason, then encourage me, make the sign of the cross for me, and fight for me against the enemy. Make in my name an act of faith; favour me with a sign of my salvation, and never let me despair of the mercy of God.

Help me to defeat the wicked enemy. When I can no longer say, “Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I place my soul in your hands”, say it for me. When I can no longer hear human words of consolation, comfort me.

Do not leave me before I have been judged, and when my soul needs purifying from sin in purgatory, pray for me without ceasing, and inspire my friends on earth to pray for me, so that I may soon enjoy the blessed sight of God. Lighten my sufferings, deliver me quickly, and lead my soul into heaven with you, so that united with you and all the saints, I may bless and praise God for all eternity. Amen.
– St John Vianney

 

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PRAYER WHEN YOU GROW OLDER

May Christ keep me ever young “to the greater glory of God”. For old age comes from Him, old age leads to Him, and old age will touch me only insofar as He wills. To be “young” means to be hopeful, energetic, and smiling. May I accept death in whatever guise it may come to me in Christ, that is, within the process of the development of life.

A smile – inward and outward – means facing with mildness and gentleness whatever befalls me. Jesus, grant me to serve You, to proclaim You, to glorify You, and to manifest You, to the very end and through all the time that remains to me of life, and above all through my death.

Lord Jesus, I commit to Your care my last years, and my death; do not let them impair or spoil the work I have so dreamed of achieving for You. Amen.

 
 

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PRAYER ASKING MARY TO PRAY FOR US IF WE SHOULD BECOME TOO FRAIL OR SICK TO PRAY OURSELVES

How sweet it is to think, that by your peerless beauty, O holy Virgin, you have ravished the heart not of any earthly ruler but of the King of Kings, and Creator of the Universe! You were deemed worthy to be the Mother of the Incarnate Word, the dispenser of His grace, and the cause of our joy. And now, enthroned at the right hand of your Son, you draw to yourself all the hearts of the saints and angels in heaven, and of the just on earth. I rejoice to see you of all creatures the most beloved, since of all others you are the most worthy of love.

But, I beg You, O glorious Queen, do not forget me, poor exile that I am, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Remember that you are raised on high to be the better able to see those who suffer here below, and that you are made so powerful the more ready to succour us. You know, O Mary! how I am constantly assailed by enemies and temptations. Be my Perpetual Succour; watch over me continually, or I shall be lost. And when, through frailty, I fail to call upon you in danger, receive the intention I now make of doing so. May this always be the cry of my heart – Mother of Perpetual Succour, do not forget me. Amen.

 
 

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PRAYER WHEN YOU ARE LONELY AND EVERYTHING SEEMS TO CONSPIRE AGAINST YOU: “JESUS, MY TRUE AND ONLY FAITHFUL FRIEND”

My Jesus, you are my true friend, my only friend. You take part in all my misfortunes; you take them on yourself; you know how to change them into blessings.

You listen to me with the greatest kindness when I tell you all my troubles and you always have something with which to heal my wounds.

I find you at any time of the day or night and I find you wherever I happen to be; you never leave me; if I change my dwelling place I find you wherever I go.

You are never weary of listening to me; you are never tired of doing me good.

I am certain of being loved by you, if I but love you: my worldly goods are of no value to you but by bestowing yours on me, you never grow the poorer; however miserable I may be, no one more noble or clever or even holier can come between you and me and deprive me of your friendship; and death which tears us away from all other friends will unite me forever to you.

All the humiliations attached to old age or the loss of honour will never detach you from me: on the contrary, I shall never enjoy you more fully and you will never be closer to me, than when everything seems to conspire against me, to overwhelm me, and to cast me down.

You bear with all my faults, with extreme patience and even my want of fidelity and my ingratitude do not wound you to such a degree as to make you unwilling to receive me back when I return to you. O Jesus, grant that I may die praising you, that I may die loving you, that I may die for the love of you. Amen.
– Blessed Claude de la Columbiere

 
 

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