The road to retirement

(At the April meeting of the Senior Friars Committee, "We began to focus on what I would summarize as the ‘Spirituality of Retirement’ with special reference to the Franciscan way of living the Gospel life," says Chair Dennet Jung, who gathered input from members into an essay and added his own perspective. This is the first of six monthly excerpts.)

Retirement for us friars means a movement toward a style of life with a more focused emphasis on fraternal relationships, prayer, and service to others that ensures for us more free time, space, and energy to be allotted for our personal growth in Gospel values, as we continue our preparation for the final intimacy with Sister Death.

As I was driving on Interstate 78 upon my return from this meeting, a large sign near the roadway seemed to scream out accusingly in bold, black letters: "When you die you will meet God!" Our committee took a more positive and promising approach to leaving this world. We focused on meeting God NOW and experiencing His presence and compassionate power in our earthly lives.

Retirement is an opportunity to discover more profoundly our calling as human beings and as Franciscan witnesses of the Gospel while we enter our senior years. Our calling is to meet and enjoy God now, to find comfort and hope in His presence in and around us through the Holy Spirit whom God sent following the Ascension of His Son Jesus our Lord. Retirement TO this more intense and focused ongoing formation is a privilege we accept and embrace in order to realize our main priority in life, to be at one with our God and our brothers and sisters in the human family whom God created.

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