One of the best, most prolific and most provocative (i.e., always controversial) of Catholic spiritual writers, Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister, has yet another new book, this one called The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully.
Sister Joan has a knack for saying one thing after another that makes you go “Wow! What an insight!” Or, “Wow! What a turn of phrase!”
Such as this about our “headless society”:
“Retirement can be the worst thing that happens to a person in this society, because we tell them, ‘Here’s your watch. Here’s the banquet. See you around.’ Except we don’t ever really care to see you again. In 24 hours, your name is off your door. The drawers are empty. Nobody ever calls to say, ‘You know, when you had this case, how did you decide it?’
“Nobody sits them down and tries to tap into their experience. In our youth-centered society, experience is getting short shrift, and it’s showing in our decision-making. It’s showing in our whole attitude toward the corporate world.
“How does it show? If it’s not new, it’s not newsworthy. And if it’s new, you have no criteria for comparison, no criteria for evaluation of any kind. We’ve become a headless society.”
Or this about the “commuter generation” ruts . . .
“Given the nature of our industrialized society, we hear a lot about how we spend all our working lives earning money for when we don’t earn money, but then we don’t know what to do with it, because there’s nothing else we do except earn money during these years.
“When you think of the old agricultural schedules, there were so many months a year that you just waited for the seed to lie fallow. It changed your life, too. Why did agricultural societies have all those feast days? They had them to bring people together; they had them to break life up for outreach.
“We have moved so quickly from that kind of society to this ‘commuter generation’ society that there’s very little that fills those gaps. I argue that you just simply have to get yourself involved in other, life-giving things. Don’t get in that rut.”
Those are excerpts of an interview with Sister Joan in the August 2014 edition of “U.S. Catholic” that can be found here. Check it out.