By: Fr. Roy Cimagala
THOUGH we cannot avoid aging and getting old, we have to understand that we are meant to be forever young and new. Aging and getting old are a matter of time. They are temporal or temporary. They are more a matter of the physical, material and external. They only happen in this life here on earth.
But since we are meant to be in eternity with God, we are actually meant to be young and new and never fading, just like God himself. To be forever young and new is more a matter of the spiritual, supernatural and the internal in us.
Though to be forever young and new cannot be achieved hereon earth, we have to understand that we should try our best, together with God’s grace, to approximate that ideal here on earth. The secret is in loving—loving God himself and because of our love for God, then also loving everybody else.
It’s love that is a participation of God’s love for us that will keep us forever young and new. It will keep us fervent amid the vagaries of life, strong and focused and with good fighting spirit as we go through the ravages of life.
We need to keep this love burning always. And again the secret is always to look for Christ wherever we are, whatever the situation we will have. We have to learn how to find Christ in everyone and everything, how to relate everything to him. Everything is always relatable to Christ, including our mistakes and sins. It’she who will show what to do with them.
Toward this end, we have to fight against laziness, both physical and mental. We always need to submit ourselves to a certain discipline to keep us fit physically and mentally so as to be able to engage God properly.
We have to fight against our tendency to take God for granted. We have to fight against the tendency to fall into complacency, spiritual dryness and coldness. Indeed, we really need to sharpen our spirit of mortification, for without it, we really can not go far in our prayer and our spiritual duties.
It’s clear that to keep ourselves young and new in this life, we need to wage war, a spiritual warfare. And this can be in the arena of our work today that is now flooded with many new,fascinating, if also absorbing things. We have to be most careful not to fall into self-indulgence, obsessions and addictions.
The new technologies will surely give us some high feelings, but they will only be fleeting and will gradually tie us down into some kind of addiction. We need to be extra careful with them, always rectifying our intentions and clearly keeping a sense of limits in their use so as not to be separated from God. They can be a sweet poison.
That is why we need to keep ourselves in the presence of God, and maintain a spirit of prayer. Prayer, combined with recourse to the sacraments, spirit of sacrifice and a scetical struggle, is the best anti-aging tool we have at hand. Wrinkles may still come, though they for sure will be delayed, but the spirit will be forever young and new.
It is important also that we keep away from any sign of negativity in thoughts, desires, feelings and words. Try to avoid keeping grudges. These tire and age our spirit fast. If we cannot say anything good or positive, it’s better just to keep quiet. When some critical thoughts come, and they can come quite spontaneously, try to banish them as soon as possible.
Smiling also helps a lot. Even in physical terms, it makes us look younger, removing many years away from our face. Let’s always have a good disposition whatever the situation. All of these can only happen if we are truly identified with Christ.