Even though I actually feel younger than ever, and excited about life, I see that this body of mine is aging. However, my emotions are not what I imagined they would be from my younger days when I dreaded the thought of growing old. I’m not horrified, or even chagrined; instead I’m awed and filled with wonder. Like everyone else, I began this life as a single cell, inside my mother’s womb, and my body grew into a complex collection of cells that make up organs, that make up systems, that make up me.
When we look at our hands and our feet, the matter that we see is not just as old as we are – it’s as old as time itself, recycled from one body to another. We’ve come together in this form, and when we die, our bodies will slowly decompose back into the elements, and go on to form new things, constantly becoming.
Who we are is something even beyond the amazing physical complexities. Each of us is a person, an essentially integrated whole, a material body and a spiritual soul inextricably intertwined, created by God out of nothing, eternally responsible for our choices and actions. We are constantly becoming too, and these physical bodies aren’t all we will become.
It is a de fide dogma that the dead will rise again with the same bodies as they had on earth. How will this be achieved? We don’t know. From the teachings of the Apostles, the Scholastic scholars described how the re-modeled body of the just will be free of suffering, sorrow, sickness and death, a spiritualized nature in which the body obeys the soul with the greatest of ease and freedom of movement. We will be agile, not conditioned by the laws of gravity as our earthly bodies are. We be light, and filled with beauty and radiance. Didn’t Christ demonstrate this when he rose again and ascended into heaven for the sake of our salvation?
Life is really a beginning unto itself from which we will be born into eternity, and remembering that changes the way we can view aging, in spite of the wrinkles, gray hairs, blemishes, bulges and all. We are becoming, with a hope and a peace that the happiest moments of our lives on earth are only a glimpse of what God offers us in the life of the world to come. Be where you are, but become what you are meant to be.
The just shall shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Matthew 13:43