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Faith and Spiritual Growth for the Maturing Adult

Transitions: Later Life Spirituality

Later Life Spirituality
 

by Richard Johnson

Fr. Benedict Groeschel reminds us in his book, Spiritual Passages, that there are four types of spiritual seekers, those who seek:

  1. Unity, in the form of order, harmony, and consistency
  2. Truth, what is right
  3. Goodness, what helps humans
  4. Beauty, what reflects God's love

One of the spiritual transitions of our maturing years is to gather up these four into a new integration. Yet this integration process is not easy, it requires that we remain ever open to the nudges of the Spirit, the inner call of God, and it requires our patience as it moves forward in steps, more or less at its own pace. Orderly or not, the following eight steps propel us in our maturing years, closer to God in a quickening pace.

  1. Awakening: heightened awareness of things spiritual, openness to the Spirit, disengagement from purely worldly pursuits.
  2. Going Inward: becoming more prayerful, contemplative, even meditative; experiencing a deepening God relationship.
  3. Reverencing: appreciating the sacred, being inspired, living mystery, and walking more by faith and less by sight.
  4. Going Outward: active involvement in helping others.
  5. Caring: teaching, sharing, relationship building, and spiritual mentoring.
  6. Shock: walking the dark night of the soul; experiencing disappointment, alienation, turmoil, doubt, and struggle.
  7. Renewal: rebuilding; turning over to God; healthy detachment.
  8. Acceptance: letting-go and letting God; taking another step toward integration and wholeness.

We needn't go through all these steps, nor even go through them in this order, yet the ongoing progression of spiritual transition always beckons us forward. Each stage and phase of life offers abundant opportunities for spiritual growth. We are happiest, healthiest, and holiest when we are actively engaged in our spiritual developmental tasks. The years beyond age 65 present us with perhaps the most challenging, yet the most growthful time for finding God within.

For more on the spiritual developmental tasks of the maturing years, log onto: http://www.senioradultministry.com/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=COURSE110

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