Saturday, January 19, 2013

WISDOM—my “word” for the year

Or a good word for “the rest of my way” to the Finish Line.

At the beginning of each year I give some thought to choosing a word to focus on for the next lap of my life race. This year Wisdom is that word. 

Wisdom is needed in every season of mortal life. But in childhood it can't be attained; life has not unfolded yet. We are too fresh. Youth is the experimental period; life is being tested, knowledge is being accumulated. Wisdom? Not so much. In prime years wisdom and folly are being sorted out; some good choices made, some foolish decisions take you on detours.

It's in advanced years that wisdom is expected to flower and its fragrance waft to others. At least that's the proverbial track. The mature, the elderly, the aged are supposed to finally be wise, and those who trail behind are expected to happily benefit from their collected experience. That's not always so. Sometimes, unfortunately, the aged are foolish. And the young want to make their own mistakes, reluctant to profit from anyone else's experience. So history repeats itself. The hopefully wise should dispense their wisdom only if it's requested. Otherwise, zip. That in itself is wisdom.

Not to be selfish but to be discreet, the wisdom I seek for myself in my mature years is wisdom to live in the will and purposes of God, to choose and act prudently as the path of life narrows and the remaining days can actually be numbered. In my youth, the days stretched open end and could hardly be numbered.

The aging Moses reflected on this transient life in Psalm 90: “So teach us to number our days, that we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom.”

I likewise have reflected on this reality in my Prayer for Wisdom:

  • God, grant me the wisdom of mature years, to circumvent the foolishness of aging.
  • When You see me playing in the spiritual shallows, Lord, beckon me out of the wading pool into Your deep waters.
  • If I feel bogged down in meaningless routine, turn the plain water of my daily life into “the best wine saved until last.”
  • When I tend to resist change and settle in my comfort zone, grant me an open spirit and a growing, receptive mind.
  • If I’ve lost my get-up-and-go, show me how to “rise and take up my bed and walk.”
  • When my leaves are withered and dry, revive me to be “full of sap and very green.”
  • When my fruit is scanty and sour, show me how to “flourish like the palm tree”
  • If the embers of my first love for You are growing cold, fan them into flame by Your Holy Spirit.
  • When the noise of my activity drowns out Your still small voice, quiet me to wait on You in contemplative silence.
  • If the soil of my life is depleted and lies fallow, break up the clods, supply fresh nutrients, and make straight my furrows.
  • When my prayers seem unanswered and my spirit is arid, open the floodgates to let Your Rivers of Living Water flow again.
  • Where my life is out of balance and I lose my footing, help me restore eternal priorities to keep from stumbling.
  • When my vision for Your Kingdom has grown dim, touch my eyes to see again Your destiny for me.
  • If I’ve become slow of speech to declare Your message, open my lips to boldly proclaim Your Good News.
  • If I can't hear Your voice clearly, send Your Holy Spirit to be my hearing aid.
  • If my memory begin to slip, help me remember that You never leave me or forsake me.
  • When I’m weary from the length of life’s journey, draw me close to Your bosom to find comfort and rest.
  • If I’m laboring to bear scarcely 30-fold fruit, teach me to abide in You to effortlessly produce by Your wisdom 100-fold.
  • Where some good seed of Your Word still lies dormant as I advance in years, send the gentle latter rain of Your Spirit so I can bear an abundant late harvest.
  • When I am tired and lack motivation to press on, restore iron to my soul, strength to my weak knees and limp arms.
  • When I drag my feet to do Your will, energize me with the adrenalin of Your Holy Spirit.
  • When I’m short of breath from life’s fast pace, inflate my lungs with Your Breath of Life.
  • If I grip material possessions too tightly, teach me to hold loosely the things of this world.
  • If I open my mouth to speak foolish words, show me how to put a watch on my lips.
  • When I’m afraid of the darkness around me, take my hand to walk in Your Light.
  • When my emotions roller coaster out of control, teach me to set my affection on things above not on things of earth.
  • When anxiety about the future threatens to overwhelm me, remind me of Your great faithfulness in years past.
  • If my appetite becomes jaded by the world’s junk food, give me Yourself as my Daily Bread in the Eucharist.
  • When I think I’ve reached the limit of my endurance, help me persevere in Your strength to run the last mile Home.
  • When thoughts of my mortal end cause me fear, remind me that You are preparing a place for me in Your Father’s House.

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