It's OK to enjoy retirement

People in the business, corporate, institutional world often look at retirement differently from us. This is understandable and not surprising. After many years of struggling with finances, raising children, caring for older family members and sometimes fiercely competing for success in one arena after another, they look forward to retiring FROM the hassle of these tedious "working" years. These sisters and brothers of ours breathe a sigh of relief when they can relax during the day, create their own schedules, spend more quality time with family and friends, and if they are in reasonably good health, do some traveling they could only dream about in previous years.

We friars retire TO a lesser business-focused life-style to minister more intimately and spontaneously in our friaries, with our families of origin, and with acquaintances we have met and continue to meet wherever we are assigned. We pray with them, discuss Gospel values with them, and simply said, ENJOY the life and health that God continues to provide for us.

Ronald Rolheiser in his book, Sacred Fire, states that the greatest gratitude we can give to God is to ENJOY the gift of life that God has given us. Enjoying life, I believe, means finding joy in our own goodness, in relating peacefully with our brothers and sisters, in discovering and affirming the beauty of the created world around us. Enjoying life also means freeing ourselves from the enslavement of our egos that seek to chain us to ourselves and suffocate our desires to reach out to anyone or anything beyond ME. Enjoying life means developing imaginative and life-giving interests and hobbies that keep us from boredom and loneliness.

Enjoying life means developing a sense of humor whereby we can acknowledge our own sinfulness and silliness and thereby be more gracious and generous in dealing with the frailty and folly of our sisters and brothers. We like to think and say that God smiles at us, but I wonder if God doesn’t also snicker at us sometimes.

–Fr. Dennet Jung, OFM
for the Senior Friars Committee