My book-in-progress is the third book in the "MORE" series, but the fourth in my spiritual autobiographical set, so I guess I can't call it a “Trilogy” anymore. (Czeching My Roots was first, My Journey to the Land of MORE was second, and Living the Treasures in the Land of MORE was the third. Now STILL MORE—Flourishing on My Summit is the one I'm writing.
A delightful extra book slipped in during the year. I co-authored AGING JOYFULLY with a minister friend in Canada and it was published some months ago.
I have been sharing some excerpts of STILL MORE with friends by email and, when I've had time, also on my blog—irregularly. I call these advance tastes “licking the spoon and mixing bowl” while the “book-cake” is still baking in the oven. This is a fond flashback from the kitchen experience of my childhood.
I'm sorry to have confused some of my readers by changing my proposed title several times. Some of the previous titles are chapter titles in the forthcoming book. The new Introduction reflects my current working title and adjusted theme. Such changes/developments are typical of a book-in-progress.
I've reached the point of collecting the material into chapters before I start on the first edit. I hoped to finish the first draft of STILL MORE by my 88th birthday in June but other priorities delayed reaching that goal. What is the target date for publication? “To everything there is a season....”
Some of my friends promised to pray this book through to completion, to publishing, as they did my previous books. I feel the uplift of their prayers while I am creatively writing and disciplining my time to spend the necessary long hours at the computer. These prayer partners and cheering friends encourage me and share in the fruit of my writing and its outreach!
My proposed chapter titles, Dedication, and Prayer for Wisdom are listed below.
Working title: STILL MORE—FLOURISHING ON MY SUMMIT by Leona Choy
Prayer for Wisdom
Climbing to my summit
Living on my summit
My view from the summit
My "earth suit" on the summit
Relationships on my summit
Ordinary time on my summit
Storms on my summit
Singing on my summit
Summit meetings with God
Nature flourishes on my summit
Summit living like the eagle
Abundance on my summit
Gems gathered on the summit
Psalm 71—My GPS on the summit
Launching from my summit
SAINT FRANCIS DE SALES (1567-1622) is my patron saint and example. I took his name for my Confirmation since he is the patron of those in communications, publishing, and the media. I asked for his intercession in the writing of this book. I would like to adopt and adapt his Dedicatory Prayer from his famous book, “Introduction to the Devout Life” since his words also reflect my desire.
“Ah, sweet Jesus, my Lord, my Savior, and my God, behold me here prostrate before Your Majesty as I pledge and consecrate this work [of writing] to your glory.
By your blessing give life to its words so that [those] for whom it has been written may receive from it the sacred inspirations I desire for them. In particular, that of imploring Your infinite mercy in my behalf to the end that while I point out to others the way of devotion in this world, I myself may not be rejected...but that with them I may forever sing as a canticle of triumph words that with my whole heart I [have written]....
LIVE, JESUS! LIVE, JESUS!
Yes, Lord Jesus, live and reign in our hearts forever and ever. Amen.”
Note: Saint Francis commonly uses in his books the title “Your Majesty” when addressing God. Royal titles for Deity were in common use throughout the history of the Church in early centuries, during the Middle Ages and later.
“Vive Jesus!”-- “Live, Jesus!” may be taken as the motto and theme of Saint Francis de Sales' writings and life work.
DR. ANDREW MURRAY, another saintly, famous, and prolific Protestant writer of devotional books and proclaimer of the Gospel in mission lands several generations ago, often expressed a similar sentiment as Saint Francis did above. He acknowledged that he often offered his readers godly truths and spiritual experiences beyond what he himself through his human failings had walked out fully in practice in his own life.
In my writings I seek to be honest and genuine, but with Saint Paul I too fear that I fall short of practicing consistently all that I have written. I commit myself to the mercy of God, the Searcher of Hearts, and declare, “...Not that I have already attained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on...reaching forward to what lies ahead...toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:12-14) With my readers I press on.
WISDOM FOR MY REST OF THE WAY
Wisdom is needed in every season of our mortal lives. However, in childhood it can't be attained because life has not unfolded yet and we lack the experience on which wisdom is based. We are too fresh, untried and unproven. Youth is the experimental period; life is being tested, knowledge is being accumulated. Wisdom? Not so much. We are still in process. In prime years wisdom and folly are being sorted out; some good choices are made, some foolish decisions take us on detours.
It is in advanced years that wisdom is expected to burst forth in 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 follow in their footsteps are expected to happily benefit from their collected experience.
That's not always so. Sometimes, unfortunately, the aged are foolish. And the young insist on making their own mistakes, reluctant to profit from anyone else's experience. So history repeats itself. The hopefully wise mature ones should dispense their wisdom only when and if it is requested. Otherwise, zip the lips! That in itself is wisdom.
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 my remaining days can actually be numbered. In my youth, the days seemed to stretch 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 have reflected on this reality in my
PRAYER FOR WISDOM
1. God, grant me the wisdom of mature years to circumvent the foolishness of aging.
2. When You see me playing in the spiritual shallows, Lord, beckon me out of the wading pool into Your deep waters.
3. If I feel bogged down in meaningless routine, turn the plain water of my daily life into “the best wine saved until last.”
4. When I tend to resist change and settle in my comfort zone, grant me an open spirit and a growing, receptive mind.
5. If I’ve lost my get-up-and-go, show me how to “rise and take up my bed and walk.”
6. When my leaves are withered and dry, revive me to be “full of sap and very green.”
7. When my fruit is scanty and sour, show me how to “flourish like the palm tree.”
8. If the embers of my first love for You are growing cold, fan them into flame by Your Holy Spirit.
9. When the noise of my activity drowns out Your still small voice, quiet me to wait on You in contemplative silence.
10. If the soil of my life is depleted and lies fallow, break up the clods, supply fresh nutrients, and make straight my furrows.
11. When my prayers seem unanswered and my spirit is arid, open the floodgates to let Your Rivers of Living Water flow again.
12. Where my life is out of balance and I lose my footing, help me restore eternal priorities to keep from stumbling.
13. When my vision for Your Kingdom has grown dim, touch my eyes to see again Your destiny for me.
14. If I’ve become slow of speech to declare Your message, open my lips to boldly proclaim Your Good News.
15. If I can't hear Your voice clearly, send Your Holy Spirit to be my hearing aid.
16. If my memory begin to slip, help me remember that You never leave me or forsake me.
17. When I’m weary from the length of life’s journey, draw me close to Your bosom to find comfort and rest.
18. If I’m laboring to bear scarcely 30-fold fruit, teach me to abide in You to effortlessly produce by Your wisdom 100-fold.
19. 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.
20. When I am tired and lack motivation to press on, restore iron to my soul, strength to my weak knees and limp arms.
21. When I drag my feet to do Your will, energize me with the adrenalin of Your Holy Spirit.
22. When I’m short of breath from life’s fast pace, inflate my lungs with Your Breath of Life.
23. If I grip material possessions too tightly, teach me to hold loosely the things of this world.
24. If I open my mouth to speak foolish words, show me how to put a watch on my lips.
25. When I’m afraid of the darkness around me, take my hand to walk in Your Light.
26. When my emotions roller coaster out of control, teach me to set my affection on things above not on things of earth.
27. When anxiety about the future threatens to overwhelm me, remind me of Your great faithfulness in years past.
28. If my appetite becomes jaded by the world’s junk food, give me Yourself as my Daily Bread in the Eucharist.
29. When I think I’ve reached the limit of my endurance, help me persevere in Your strength to run the last mile Home.
30. When thoughts of my mortal end cause me fear, remind me that You are preparing a Place for me in Your Father’s House.