The more things change, the more they really do
Generalizations are often not worth the paper that they are written on. But here goes. Grandpa was taking several grandchildren to the golf course. He opened the trunk of his car and everyone put their clubs in. Everyone jumped into the car except the last one, a ten year old, who stood behind the car. Grandpa called to “close the trunk and get in.” The response came, “I can’t do it.” “Why?” “Because I can’t find the button to push to close the trunk.” Grandpa, “Just grab hold and pull it down.” Perhaps no two generations have been farther apart in so many ways. Grandchild could probably google the answer to any question in the world that Grandpa wanted to know. But the child did not know how to pull down a trunk lid to close. And so it goes. In a test given to high schoolers—no one knew how and could not make a call on a rotary telephone. Too complicated!
Father Howard Gray, SJ. (87) recently died from injuries that he received in an auto accident. Father was an acclaimed priest, counselor, teacher, spiritual director in many, many universities and seminaries in which he had participated. One of his favorite expressions was “The Church was not a gated community, but a swinging gate.” Does anyone know a family that does not despair about their children and possibly grandchildren who don’t go to church? We all are flooding the gates of Heaven as to “WHY?” with our prayers. We tend to see current behavior as everlasting and feel little hope regarding a change of this behavior. As Christians, Hope is something that we should never be without. “But we paid thousands of dollars for all that Catholic school education and…….”
One of the most important personality traits that we all have to work harder at is ‘patience.’ The young have to have more patience with their elders who don’t understand the fast pace of electronics, but are trying to learn to live with them. And the elders have to have more patience with the younger generation who live a life style that often seems to have little to do with the way we were brought up and the way we thought that we brought them up as well. There is much about our life styles that would handicap this fast moving way of life today. What has not changed are the basic values of Jesus’ teachings. If we look hard enough, many of our young are living a good, hard working, generous, caring life. A need for formal religion, however, seems to escape them. “Judge not that ye not be judged.” Continue to pray and teach by example, not dictate, the beauty of being in God’s house and in the reception of His graces. The ‘swinging gate’ is always open. And one never knows the thoughts of another and what it may take for someone to go through. And though most of us elders may never deposit our checks on our phones, we need to communicate with a smile to those all around us. We need them and they need us. Prayer, Hope and Patience— worth the effort.
By Kathy Reilly