Saturday, September 27, 2008

Not for Sissies

My Aunt Shirley has been known to sigh on occasion, "Ain't nothin' good about gettin' old." Qoheleth seems to agree with her in today's first reading. In poetic language, he details the progression of decrepitude in "the evil days" of advanced years "when the almond tree blooms" (evidently, the almond is a late blooming tree?): shaky limbs ("the guardians of the house tremble"); crippling arthritis in the legs ("the strong men are bent"); loss of teeth ("the grinders are idle because they are few"); loss of eyesight ("they who look through the windows grow blind") and of hearing ("the sound of the mill is low and one waits for the chirp of a bird"); loss of appetite ("the caper berry is without effect").
Qoheleth is addressing all this to the young by way of advice: "Remember your Creator in the days of your youth." Don't wait for old age to give praise and thanks to God; don't leave God the dregs of your existence. Let God also be glorified and praised in the very joy and beauty you experience in the fullness of your strength. And then you will find a way to give God glory and praise when he will be the one unchanging good that remains to you.

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