Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, ‘Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation…” (Lk 2: 25-30)

Old age is often thought of as a time for looking backwards; or even a time of relative uselessness and stagnation. But St. Simeon offers me an example of “looking forward,” of spiritual growth, and even of vibrant, poetic creativity in his old age. Why? Because he allows himself to be “guided by the Spirit,” and hence has his eyes wide open to the “now.”

Today as I continue my own ageing-process, I’d like to embrace these capacities of St. Simeon: 1. Of looking forward, “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,” as St. Paul also reminds us (Phil 3: 13); 2. Of openness to God’s guidance, wherever it is He leads me today; and 3. Of “seeing” gratefully what God is revealing to me in the “now,” in the people, places, and things that cross my path today. Let me let God bless me with these capacities today, so that – if I live to old age, – I’m in the habit of greeting every day as a time of growth, and be dismissed “in peace.”

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