Apostolate of Catholic Elders*
General Guidelines and Principles for being Happy, Holy and Healthy, by Fr. Rick Sherman
Live Simply That Others May Simply Live (Read Gospels for Clues)
Everything good comes from God; share in proportion to what God has given you. (See Gospels).
Become very familiar with the major events and periods of Salvation History as depicted in the Bible. This is your family story; pass it on and find your place in it. (See ‘Great Adventure’ from Ascension Press).
Become very familiar with ‘Theology of the Body for Teens’ (Ascension Press) and pass it on. Share with others, especially younger people, how the becoming one flesh of your marriage is enhanced by the ‘becoming one body, one spirit in Christ’ of receiving the Eucharist. Share how you have experienced this developing sense of transcended oneness over the course of your life. If you are single, make sure you have a spiritual guide.
Husbands (and boyfriends), love your wives (and girlfriends) as Christ loved the Church. Ephesians 5.
Wives (and girlfriends) see above. Help them and don’t be afraid to wait.
Know where your food comes from and the process entailed in getting it to your table. Consider “Eating is a Moral Act” from the Catholic Rural Life Conference.
Grow a garden and feed yourself and others with the bounty.
Cook/prepare your own food several times per week. (Agave drinks do not count as a fruit).
Know where your water comes from. Is it sustainable?
Determine your ‘carbon footprint’ and take the St. Francis Pledge. See CatholicClimateCovenant.org
Become very familiar with the 7 major themes of Catholic Social Teaching and apply them to the ongoing decisions you make especially when voting, when making lifestyle changes and when making big purchases. See US Council of Catholic Bishops (usccb.org)
Read at least one chapter from one of the Gospels each day. Pray through all four Gospels and then start over; forever.
Write your autobiography. Be relentlessly honest and share your whole story with a trusted friend (not necessarily your spouse). See Fr. Rick for suggested guidelines.
Walk, bike, hike, run or swim almost every day.
Share your hobby or special talent with a young person.
Have more face-to-face conversations.
Be completely quiet for 30 minutes each day…not counting sleep.
FEEL THE LOVE.
*Elders could be those of any age who can pass along the wisdom of Catholic Tradition with experiential credibility. If you are over 50, you should be an elder.
I wrote this one January morning in the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada as I was watching the sun rise on the red rocks and while sipping a cup of fresh campstove-brewed French Roast. I had recently turned a ‘new decade’ and was wondering what advice I might give to younger folks coming up to inherit our society. I guess I was presuming that the elders had a good basic understanding of fundamental Catholic teaching upon which to apply this list.
I would like to hear or read your advice that you might give to younger folks or even to your younger self if you could do things over.