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After 50: Spiritually Embracing Your Own Wisdom Years

As we grow older we tend to look at things differently. We forget the little joys of our youth, the moments of restfulness and peacefulness that our parents thought of as "wasting time." Most importantly, we forget to take the time rest and grow in the life of God. All too often we get too caught up in our daily routines, our schedules, our work – and we forget the necessity of taking the time to pray and grow in our spiritual lives.

"After 50 : Spiritually Embracing Your Own Wisdom Years " (Paulist Press, Mahwah, NJ, 1997), was written by Robert Wicks, a staff member at Loyola University in Baltimore. This little book is a gift of pure hope – a reminder of the truly important things in one's life – and presents a guideline to assist the reader in a journey into the interior life, and to understand more fully what it means to live in a noble way, possessing the greatest of God's gifts: a hopeful heart.

It only takes a few seconds to stop, breathe and imagine yourself with God. It can done at any time of the day – at work, in the car, walking from one place to another or waiting on line in the supermarket. Wicks proposes that this time of one's life can be summarized in three words: caring, praying and nurturing. We need to listen to the people and the world around us, because it is in these that we encounter God and what God calls us to be. We need to read, to pray, to take time to be with God – to make a conscious effort to nurture our faith by opening ourselves, despite the pain that may sometimes be associated with it, to the possibilities of grace that fill and surround us – the kinds of grace that even come "kicking, scratching or begging at our door."

"After 50..." is not simply a book of prayers, although it contains many of Wicks' original prayers. It is a book of reflections, stories, parables and ideas…starting points for dialog with The Lord. I believe the most important element, however, is the affirmation that as we prepare for our Spiritual Wisdom Years, this is also a time when we are called to embrace and share our spiritual knowledge and experiences in a freer and more generous way with others.

As I approach and prepare for this milestone in my life, this little book will be a constant companion. It will remind me that my spiritual journey is one that will not only be my strength, but also one that I can offer to others. For when our interior life is strong, our attitude toward others is gentle. When our inner life feels nourished, our hearts can be open to others' pain.

Nurturing a Hopeful Heart
Read a bit
Listen to a favorite song
Call a friend
Remember a kindness
Help the poor
Keep perspective
Smile broadly
Laugh loudly
Close doors gently
Do what you can
Live Gratefully
Relax for a moment
Breathe deeply
Tease yourself often
Take a quiet walk...
Tell God a funny story

- Robert Wicks

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