It's Never Too Late

almost midnight

I thought I’d draw attention to a recent comment to an old post.  Carol is recovering from spinal surgery.  Retirement beckons.  In her daily examen she asks, “Okay, Lord: What do you have in mind NEXT for me?”  She says:

I had been blessed a few years ago with a Jesuit spiritual director who was terminally ill, and when he moved into the provincial Jesuit health-care facility, we continued our direction sessions via Skype. That was his idea. That incident, and many more exchanges over the course of the next few months, taught me the following: 1. We are alive until we take our last breath, 2. There is always a mission that we have assigned to us by God, and it is our responsibility to discern it and put it into action, 3. If an idea is truly from God, He will assist you and give you the grace and perseverance to bring it to conclusion, and 4. Even old age, infirmity, and yes, end stage illness is an opportunity to advance His kingdom on earth.

I think that’s an excellent vision for a spirituality for later life.

Image by Stephen Cannon under a Creative Commons license.
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Jim Manney
Jim Manney is the author of highly praised popular books on Ignatian spirituality, including A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer (about the Daily Examen) and God Finds Us (about the Spiritual Exercises). He is the compiler/editor of An Ignatian Book of Days. His latest book is What Matters Most and Why. He and his wife live in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


  1. Happy Birthday to all of us – I, too, will celebrate within the week.
    This post was an important reminder about our mission while still on earth. An elderly neighbour of mine used to enquire after family and friends, would ask for first names, write them down. She said that while she couldn’t get out much to do anything physically to help, she could pray for everyone, mentioning them specifically by name. I have no doubt that while she was praying, the enemy was unable to advance.

    • My birthday is not for a few months by which time I will have become ten years younger and won’t need to celebrate the event. I like that kind of math ditto that comment, the one regarding what’s next, Lord? Right on.

  2. Well, I will join in on the “big” birthday thing this month. I try not to count the days behind me or project into the days ahead. My goal has always been the moment. Trying to be positive in that moment, now that would really be great . . .

  3. Thanks for bringing this post to light, Jim. There is so much wisdom there. It is hopeful and purposeful and also motivating. As I approach yet another birthday in a couple of weeks, I take great strength and energy from Carol’s words of wisdom. This is one that I’ll clip and post on my bulletin board–the physical one that needs push pins :).

  4. I read Carol’s comment some time ago and have thought of it quite a few times after that…very often people tend to think that life is over when you’re fifty or if you get seriously ill…Carol’s spiritual director proved the contrary!


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