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A CALL TO HELP ELDERS RECLAIM AND LIVE THEIR HUMAN VALUES

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A CALL TO HELP ELDERS RECLAIM AND LIVE THEIR HUMAN VALUES

                             By Sr. Brenda Walsh, Racine Dominican

In recent decades, as I worked with older adults in parishes and in the Senior Companion Program, I found that many of them have very negative thoughts about their later years. I heard comments like these: “I am just a burden and have no longer any purpose in life”, “I dread getting old. If they put me in a nursing home, I will lose all control over my own life.”   “The only ones that count are the young and energetic or those who are earning money.”  These comments are very disheartening and call us to help the elders in our midst to have a more positive experience and outlook.

How can we find purpose in later years and give up familiar ways of being involved?  As people of faith, we can recall that God created each one of us for a purpose. We are all made in God’s image and likeness and that does not change in later years. When people have a poor self-image, they downgrade themselves and only think of the things they did in the past.  We need to help them form a new self-image day by day, and start reclaiming and living it.

W are asked to look at ourselves as spiritual beings created by God with a purpose  in each stage of our lives. When we think of ourselves as worthless or useless or unworthy, we must recall the fact that God sees us as a worthy and useful part of creation. Then we can restore a positive view of ourselves . We recall the words of St. Teresa of Avila who said:  “ Christ has no body now but yours, no feet or hands with which he blesses all the world. You are the Body of Christ.” May we awaken to the meaning of this saying and it will restore our hope. We can remind each other of this reflection, as caregivers or family members and help make it a reality in their lives.

Many older adults have to give up some of the services they considered useful in the past and choose new ways or relating to the people around them. Words of encouragement, musical gifts and faith can be shared with those feeling most in need, or are living in sadness or despair.   These gifts can help relieve people of depression and restore their sense of purpose. I recall a woman in her nineties who had many challenges in her life. She said” “Every day that I wake up, I look in the mirror and say to God: ”Thank you God,  for whatever comes my way this day. I know that Your outcome will be the best outcome.”   We are called to trust God’s outcome, wherever it may take us.

We can encourage elders to stop thinking of themselves as people of little worth or importance. We are all part of God’s loving creation as long as we live. Each one of us is called to be the best we can be each day of our lives. When we pray and rely on God’s unfailing help , we remember the words of the Gospel, that through us, “God  can do infinitely more than we dare ask or imagine.” We can address the fear of death and see it as a doorway to a new and wonderful life in the presence of our God forever. 

What is our vision of later years? Will we consider ourselves as an important part of God’s plan, wherever we find ourselves? The more we can reclaim and live these thoughts, the more productive and happy our lives will be . Let us begin today to think of our later years as a time of peace and fulfillment, of growing trust in the presence of our Loving God.  Remember we are a blessing and not a burden to ourselves and those whose lives we touch. Let us begin today with courage, conviction, and hope.


 

Justice Preaching Archive

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• Two Essays on Peace •
• A RENEWED CALL TO RESTORE CIVILITY IN POLITICAL DEBATES AND OTHER AREAS •
• A CALL TO HELP ELDERS RECLAIM AND LIVE THEIR HUMAN VALUES •
• A CALL TO NAME •
• A Call To Respect and Welcome Diversity - A Challenge of Our Faith •
• Addressing White Power and Priviledge •
• An Ethical Reflection on Work... •
• A New Year •
• A Re-energized Catholic Church •
• A Renewed Call for Nuclear Disarmament •
• A THEOLOGY FOR CARING FOR THE EARTH •
• Called to Proclaim and Live With Moral Courage •
• Called To Protect the Poor In Our Economic System •
• A RENEWED CALL TO HEAL A DIVIDED WORLD •
• Call To Persevere In Praying and Working for Peace •
• Care For the Environment •
• Care for the Earth •
• Caritas in Veritate •
• The Challenge of Discipleship •
• Comprehensive Immigration Reform •
• WORKING TO CREATE A CULTURE OF PEACE •
• The Death Penalty Revisited •
• What Is Ecological Economics •
• Eliminating Global Poverty •
• Global Warming... Calling for an Urgent and Ethical Response •
• God's Fool •
• Green Congretations - A Growing Movement •
• More Gun Control •
• Healing the Racial Divide •
• Speaking the Truth in Today's World Takes Courage •
• Justice and Compassion •
• Labor Issues and the Catholic Church •
• Is More Consumer Spending the Answer? •
• Moving from A Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace •
• Preaching Justice & Moving from Violence to Peace •
• MULTICULTURALISM – A GIFT AND A CHALLENGE •
• OF TITLES AND TITTLES •
• Reaching For the Stars - Brenda Walsh •
• A Call To Reduce Prison Population •
• The Relationship Between Labor And the Catholic Church •
• Sermon On Domestic Violence •
• Sustainability •
• The Death Penalty •
• The New Economy Movement •
• The Role of Ethical Standards... •
• War Is Not the Answer •
• Witnesses To Hope •


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