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         A SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY NUN'S PRAYER ON AGING

 

All the passages below are taken from George Sweeting’s book “The Joy of Successful Aging” published in 2002.

 

 

       Lord, Thou knowest better than myself

    Know that I am growing older and will someday be old.

      Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say

     something on every subject and on every occasion.

Release me from the craving to straighten out everybody's affairs.

    Make me thoughtful, but not moody; helpful, but not bossy.

 

    With my vast store of wisdom it seems a pity not to use it all,

But Thou knowest, 0 Lord, that I want a few friends at the end.

      Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details;

         Give me wings to get to the point,

        Seal my lips on my aches and pains,

       They are increasing, and love of rehearsing

      them is becoming sweeter as the days go by.

 

I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of others' pains,

        But help me to endure them with patience.

         I dare not ask for an improved memory,

  But for a growing humility and a lessening cocksureness

when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others.

Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.

 

Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a saint;

       Some of them are so hard to live with---

But a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil.

  Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places,

       and talents in unexpected people.

   And give me, 0 Lord, the grace to tell them so.

                                    Amen. [62]

 

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