Those of us who pray the Liturgy of the Hours each day find that today, there is assigned for us a passage from the document of the Second Vatican Council called “Lumen Gentium,” or “the Light of the Nations.” This morning I was struck by these words from that document: By the power of the Gospel, the Spirit enables the Church to grow young, perpetually renews it, and leads it to complete union with its Bridegroom (Our Lord Jesus Christ).
Let’s think for a few moments about this idea of “growing ‘young.” In our ordinary experience, nothing grows young. We exist in time, and time goes in only one direction. You are one day OLDER today than you were yesterday. And that is true of all living things, like animals and plants, as well as inanimate objects like the earth and the sun and the moon and the pyramids. No single thing that we can name “grows younger.” And yet we read that the Spirit enables the Church to grow young. That is possible because the Church is composed of many individuals. The individuals grow older and eventually die. But a younger generation takes their place, and maybe that younger generation is more numerous than the previous one. The group has GROWN younger! It depends upon the proportion of young to old people within a given society. We can, if we wish, visit a kindergarten and find ourselves surrounded by youth, by little boys and girls, with all the vitality and energy that they possess and manifest. Then we can also visit an old folks’ home like the ones we spoke of yesterday where grab bars are a common and necessary part of the furnishings. What a difference between the two groups!
It is sad to see our abilities gradually leaving us. Sight, hearing, mobility, memory, and the rest. And we can find that process depressing. But let’s remember: God is not old; there are no OLD PEOPLE in heaven. There are people with lots of experience and great wisdom, but they are not “old” in the ordinary sense of the world. So as the years go by, we as individuals get older and lose some of those wonderful abilities which youth confers. But one of these days, we will no longer be part of the “aging process.” Please God, we will be admitted to heaven, and there we will be perpetually young, and eternally happy. That will be the Church in its perfection, the human race as God intended it. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This Message was composed some years ago.