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Developing some new practices which might serve us well in the future

Developing some new practices which might serve us well in the future

Some of the new practices we can develop are fitting for maintaining a connected, relational prayer life, as we grow older.  We can begin by reflecting on a plan which will serve us, depending upon where our relationship is now and where we would like it to be in the future.

For example, we might want to decide that there are several ways we want to write out very simple prayers of trust and surrender, expressions of serenity and faith, which we can begin to make a part of our ongoing connection with God.  As we put together these various, personal ways of saying, “Lord, let my life be in your hands,” we can then begin the practice of saying these prayers at particular times in our day – when we get going in the morning, at meal times, and perhaps when we encounter a challenging moment.  Developing these patterns will be a great benefit for us, when it becomes more difficult to develop new patterns later.

Another thing we can do is to begin to get comfortable with gesture.  For example, we could speak to our Lord, either at home or while we are sitting quietly in church before Mass or a worship service, with our hands open on our lap.  That simple sign of an open heart, a relationship of trust, can “carry” the time of communion with our Lord, when words might later fail us.  And, at some time in the future, when we are facing great struggle or severe pain, we will be so blessed to have developed a habit of opening our hands when we are in communion with our Lord.  At those very difficult times, that simple gesture can seal the communion we need at that time, when we might not have any energy or strength and might be without words, even without thinking.

St. Paul encourages us to think about the things of heaven, rather than the things of earth.  (Colossians 3:2)  As we get older, this advice becomes more important.  Though there can be troubles and sometimes many very worldly circumstances which take over our thoughts and feelings, the time when we will be end this life and be receiving the rewards of eternal life is drawing near.  We can develop the practice of thinking about our redemption and salvation and eternal communion with our Lord and all our sisters and brothers.  We can ask for the grace to anticipate the desire for that fulfillment of our Lord’s promises.  We can ask for the grace to look forward to the joy we will experience.  This kind of preparation can be of tremendous help for when we are approaching our final journey.  We can stay in this world, and deal with what we have to deal with, and still pray, from time to time, “Dear Jesus, I long to see your face.”  Then, when we are facing the concrete reality of letting go of our life, our hearts will be ready to surrender our anxiety and fear and to genuinely long for eternal joy.

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