a golden finish
"Their wealth remains in their families, their heritage with their descendants." —Sirach 44:11
Many people work hard during their adult lives, with the goal of enjoying a relaxing, well-deserved retirement. It's the time to enjoy one's grandchildren, and catch up on travel, hobbies, and leisure that were missed out on during many years of sacrifice.
However, the "golden years" are not really the time to let up; instead, these years are the time to "seal in" the heritage that has been sown. All too often, it takes only one generation for a society to lose its collective faith. The decades of solid groundwork that parents have laid may be lost in the relaxation of the golden years of retirement. Jesus may be issuing a call to grandparents when He says: "Listen to what I say: Open your eyes and see! The fields are shining for harvest!" (Jn 4:35)
Kings Hezekiah and Solomon both had tremendous starts in reforming their nation and turning their people to the Lord (2 Kgs 18:2ff; 1 Kgs 3:6ff). Yet their record is tarnished because they slacked off in later years. The end result of their reigns was that the nation was in worse shape when they died than it was before they started (2 Kgs 20:21ff; 1 Kgs 11:43ff).
Jesus warned us about "laying the foundation and then not being able to complete the work" (Lk 14:29). Then our legacy is merely a half-built tower, an extended family which didn't have the faith that endured. Let us follow the example of Sts. Joachim and Ann, grandparents of Jesus, and build a heritage that will endure for the glory of God.
Prayer: Father, may I finish "the work You gave me to do" (Jn 17:4).
Promise: "I assure you, many a prophet and many a saint longed to see what you see but did not see it, to hear what you hear but did not hear it." —Mt 13:17
Praise: Whenever Martha's community had a conflict, they would pray together a novena to St. Ann. Invariably, the problem would be settled by the close of the novena.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by one of our editors.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, December 16, 1999
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 18, 1999