growing young

May 17, 2024


A thought for Pentecost.

One of the welcome opportunities in sabbatical weeks is the chance to read without interruption. I’ve been appreciating fiction (covering every human complexity) and non-fiction including history (renaissance) and, this week, a great biography of the sculptor Auguste Rodin.

Mostly in my more “serious” reading I skip the footnotes. But given that I have a bit more time on my hands I did follow a footnote to the Constitution on the Church where I found a line which I hadn’t noticed before: The Holy Spirit “enables the Church to grow young”

That’s a great thought. Growing young.

Every year we notice the ageing process in ourselves. We can’t move as fast or jump as high. The mind lets us down and we think we don’t look as good as we did just a few years ago. The offer of a possible youth elixir is very attractive, but (as we suspect) the life we seek is not to be found in face creams, hair colours or even in exercise..

Instead the key to growing young is found in life in harmony with the Spirit of God.

This is what keeps the human heart beating young.

We don’t have to believe this simply because the Church Constitution tells us. A simple experiment will give a more personal experience of the life that is on offer.

Set one week in which you seek to live in harmony with all you know (or suspect) God to be asking of you. (much of this will have come to you through the gospels and perhaps through the teachings of the Church). Some of these teachings you may struggle or even disagree with. Whatever, for one week, just try it!

If you suspect God might be nudging you change your behaviour or thinking in some way, then commit to making this change – at least for one week. For example we know that Jesus taught us to love our enemy. This is a bit of a challenge since I’m not sure that my enemies deserve my love. But, for a week try it!  Then add the teaching of Jesus on care for the needy, justice and honesty, sexuality…

There are many other challenges which the Gospel and scriptures put before us.  It is common for Christians to treat these teachings as a smorgasbord of suggestions and to live only those that come most easily. The invitation of the presence of the Holy Spirit is to put yourself one hundred percent, in the upper room of readiness and waiting.

When the disciples did this their main motivation was fear. That’s a good enough reason to open up to God. Perhaps you have a fear of growing old, of vulnerability, of sickness and death? Remember, the Holy Spirit is waiting to grow you young.

At the end of your week (or at bedtime after a day or two if that is all you can manage), ask yourself if you are more happy with yourself than you were a week ago. If you are happier, then keep the rhythm of life you have set going for another week. Why wouldn’t you!

God created us to be happy, and the Spirit is given to us to enable us to live happily, and to give us eternal youth.

And I thought you might enjoy the picture since people often think of priests as an old and serious bunch – but here is a priest and a (then) seminarian. Plenty of youth and energy!



  1. I needed that, thanks.

  2. Powerful motivation to start this day & this week & more!Fr John I like “growing young”

  3. Thank you John , very timely, growing young is what we all need to focus on…. our faith rejunivates us as we meditate on your wise words.

  4. This is awesome and so is the photo. Plenty for me to get on with.

  5. God bless you John, once again this is spot on.

  6. Love the “jumpers” – I’m aspiring to jumps as high in my Spiritual life for the week!


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