I go to what my father calls, “old people Mass.” It’s the first Mass of the day and during this time of year, starts at the same time as the sunrise. Most young people go to the evening Mass. Although I probably should go and be around my own people once in awhile, I find the elderly to be a fantastic example to us young folk. There are several of these older and much wiser people that I observe closely. I admire them for their piety toward the Lord, their devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, and their love for one another. I can’t say enough wonderful things about all of them but this post is about the love I see between old couples, two specifically.
The first couple has to be in there 80s. They are tiny and gray and as precious as can be. Neither of them is very stable when they walk. They hold hands as they each take small, slow, deliberate steps. Neither needs a tool (such as a cane) to keep steady because they can depend on the other. They go to Mass together each morning. She receives Holy Communion first, and then she takes a few small steps to the side so he can receive. She waits there with her hand open for him to grasp so they can walk hand-in-hand back to their pew. I see a partnership in this couple that is hard to find these days.
The second couple is only a man. He is a sleeper, because I see him at the second Mass of the day. Much like the other couple, he has difficulty walking. His steps are slow and deliberate and he has a cane to help him stay steady. At the end of the Mass each day Father gives him Communion in order for him to take it to his homebound wife. Everyday he comes to receive our Lord, and everyday he takes Him to his wife who is unable to get to Mass. I’m sure there are days he’s tired, sick, or just doesn’t want to go to Mass. But Mass isn’t about him, and it’s not just about Jesus for him, either. It is about taking the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ to his beloved. There is such a deep authentic love in this seemingly small act.
My concern for my generation is that we aren’t observing these things. First off, we have to go to Mass. So many young people don’t attend Mass frequently so we aren’t giving ourselves the opportunity to see these things happen. Second, we don’t care about our old. Again, many of us just want to put them in retirement homes and be done. We only see or talk to our elderly during the holidays instead of visiting, listening, and learning from them. Third, we don’t have a learning heart. It is impossible to observe our elderly with a closed heart and learn all of their wisdom. They’ve been on this earth a long time and there is a lot we can learn from them if we open our eyes, ears, and minds.
The reason I share this with you today is because these old loving couples made me wonder, if we (my generation) spent more time with them (the elderly generation) would we divorce so much? I know people under the age of 30 who have been married twice. If we look at our parent’s generation, we see they divorced a lot. Because of this, love, sacrifice, obedience, and vows are completely foreign concepts to us. What if we spent time looking at our grandparents? Would we still be afraid of commitment or losing our own identities? Or would we embrace what it means to be a couple, partnership, and family?
My challenge to you today is to observe your elderly and don’t just see and observe, but learn from them! Taking their advice and counsel could save your marriage, even before it begins.
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