My first-born child turned 17 recently.  I’m finding this milestone humorously unsettling, because I am also 17!  It’s true; I am still in the age of falling deeply in love, still in the age of taking a stand when it matters, still in the age of discovering hidden talents and reasons for true hope.  This is not a delusion or a fantasy, but a fact in my soul.

Now bear with me as I tell you a different story and try to tie the two together in a neat package.

My friend recently attended her high school reunion.  The next evening, she told me of the wonder and joy of encountering people that she used to know and love so well, and how not one of them had changed a bit in 25 years.  She was passionate and reverential in declaring, “I looked into their eyes and saw the very same friends I knew so many years ago!”

“Isn’t that, then, proof of eternity?” I asked.

So many times as we grow older or witness the aging of others, we marvel at the mystery.  Wrinkles appear, children grow up, and birthday candles sometimes take on a malicious rowdiness.  “How can I be this old?” we murmur to the mirror.  “I don’t feel old.  I just feel like ME.”  And as our bodies do begin to make us feel old – as we slow down, ache more, and forget so much, we are still amazed by the contrast between the aging outside and the ageless inside.  The external now vs. the internal forever.  The decay vs. the LIFE.  The contrast between them, my friends, is good news.  Its existence proves to us that we are meant for something more.  As Peter Kreeft says, “every natural, innate, and universal desire corresponds to a reality that can satisfy it.  The reality of hunger shows the reality of food.”  The same is true for the reality of our universal sense of agelessness.

What, then, should our response to this reality be?

Our church has a full set of answers, based on Christ and His living word, found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and lived out in the lives of our beloved Saints (and saints).  Our religious education department has been planning a rich, wonderful year of learning about these eternal answers.  Please join in – no matter how young or old you believe yourself to be.

Your Pickle,

Marian Bart