Read the following prayer from an anonymous 17th century nun and realize that not much has changed when it comes to watching our tongues, releasing control, and approaching life with humility and grace. And you do not have to be getting "old," ― though we're ALL growing older ― to connect with the wisdom offered here. Print this, keep it in your Bible or journal (or somewhere you'll see it regularly), and pray it! Perhaps pray through just one or two points each day.
A 17th century nun's prayer
Lord, thou knowest better than myself that I am growing older and will soon be old.
Keep me from becoming too talkative, and especially from the unfortunate habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and at every opportunity.
Release me from the idea that I must straighten out other peoples' affairs. With my immense treasure of experience and wisdom, it seems a pity not to let everybody partake of it. But thou knowest, Lord, that in the end I will need a few friends.
Keep me from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.
Grant me the patience to listen to the complaints of others; help me to endure them with charity. But seal my lips on my own aches and pains ― they increase with the increasing years and my inclination to recount them is also increasing.
I will not ask thee for improved memory, only for a little more humility and less self-assurance when my own memory doesn't agree with that of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong.
Keep me reasonably gentle. I do not have the ambition to become a saint ― it is so hard to live with some of them ― but a harsh old person is one of the devil's masterpieces.
Make me sympathetic without being sentimental, helpful but not bossy. Let me discover merits where I had not expected them, and talents in people whom I had not thought to possess any. And, Lord, give me the grace to tell them so.
Send me your tips! Email Ann Kelley at akelley@JustMoved.org
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