OSV Alive in Christ Logo
Faith and Spiritual Growth for the Maturing Adult

Spiritual and Personal Development: Becoming Elders

Becoming Elders

by Richard Johnson

Why, you may ask, do some people age or mature with such patience and grace, with wholeness and peace, while others protest and resist, or simply resign?

There's no escaping the fact that aging brings losses. It seems that we lose much of what we once had. Our once strong, healthy body will eventually lose its vigor. Our achievements, our reasons for pride, will fade and may even lose their luster. We will change; we will be different, and we may not like the process. I don't know many people who can't wait to be 95!

We live in a culture that inadvertently holds many prejudices against aging. It's not that we don't like older persons; on an individual basis we may have deep respect and great admiration for particular older people. As a society however, we tend to fear aging, mistrust it, and think of aging as a "thief in the night."

Our culture has yet to discover the growth, purpose, and meaning of aging. We carry around some strange, irrational notion that aging should be avoided, resisted, or pushed away—at all costs; don't let yourself age! Because we suffer this age-prejudice, we may do an unfortunate thing: we may unconsciously run from our own aging, and in so doing deny ourselves the rich, living water that God offers us in maturation.

I have faith that God designed aging for our greater good. In some extraordinary and certainly paradoxical way, when we experience the losses that aging brings, something is miraculously added to us. I believe that aging is a blooming, buzzing, wonderful time of renewal, growth, and personal development that rests on a foundation of ongoing faith formation.

No stage of life is more important than another; each has its unique contribution to the overall personal and spiritual health and development of us all. Yet, to capture the growth that is inherent in aging we must look at aging with new eyes, with the eyes of Christ, and see therein the truth, beauty, and goodness that await us.

For more on the value and competencies of aging, log onto: www.senioradultministry.com/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=COURSE101

resource thumbnail

Catholic-Parent Know How

An easy-to-use, practical guide helps parents be informed and engaged in the faith formation of their child.


resource thumbnail

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha: People of Faith Cards

Children encounter models of our Catholic faith through these beautifully illustrated People of Faith cards. Contains a prayer and brief biography on the back of each card.

$7.95 (25-pack)