I was doing some digging in our archives today, and came upon a letter of Brother Francis’ from 2005. Here is an excerpt from it on growing old:
Our Lord sanctified all our life, all our states, all our emotions, all our actions; in short, all that is lawful of human existence, by taking them upon himself. Infancy, youth, manhood, health, suffering, joy, sorrow — all of it he took upon himself to sanctify so that we could be sanctified in them. How does this consoling doctrine of spiritual writers (e.g., Father M. Eugene Boylan, O.S.C.O.) fit in with the fact that Jesus did not live to be an old man? Exactly as it fits in with how he never suffered any infirmity that would compromise the dignity of the Man-God. (He never suffered a cold or the flu. The Apostles never needed to cancel a journey because “the Master is sick.”) All that entails suffering — sickness, old age, depression, etc. — all of it was experienced in that greatest of human sufferings: the Passion.
Jesus suffered the pains of an old man, not as an old man, but upon the cross. Being privileged to receive his Body daily, and by grace living a life in union with his, the walker and the insulin injection become for me the Cross and the Lance. And so it is with every suffering; but not only every suffering: every joy, every work, every prayer… everything! What a grace it is to be able to identify the least action of one’s life with the Life of Jesus! Yet that is exactly what we are given as members of his Mystical Body.