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Words of wisdom for anyone turning 50—or 30 or 40, for that matter

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My friend Father Austin Fleming posted this on his Facebook page today. I repost it here with his permission. Here is timeless wisdom for anyone, at any time, of any faith:

USA Today posted a check list of 7 things to do upon turning 50 years old. Sensing some missing things, I’d add this eighth check point: Having personally passed 50 and 60… and now 70…and (full disclosure) acknowledging the bias my profession brings to bear on such matters, I’d add an 8th check point for those who reach the half century mark:

Take a full and honest inventory of your relationship with God and with others (those as close as family and friends and those as far away as our brothers and sisters around the world who have so much less than we do). Upon taking that inventory: do what must be done to stand in a good and right relationship with the Lord and your neighbor. Seek forgiveness where you need to ask for it and make amends for harm you’ve caused. Forgive those who have harmed you, forgiving them freely, fully and with no strings attached. Keep selfishness in check. Make less effort to accumulate things and be grateful for the bounty that’s already yours. Share from all you have at least until you begin to feel the pinch of giving (simplify, simplify, simplify!).

Pray (often) for an increase of faith, hope and love and for the will and strength to do what the Lord may ask of you. Accept the things you cannot change, change the things you can (now) and ask God for the wisdom to know the difference.

Whether you live to be 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 or 100, life is short: live it to the full and don’t put off for tomorrow what can and should be done today. (P.S. 20, 30 and 40 year olds are invited to do the same and not wait until they turn 50!)

Thank you, padre.

Deacon Greg Kandra
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Deacon Greg Kandra is a Roman Catholic deacon in the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York. For nearly three decades, he was a writer and producer for CBS News, where he contributed to a variety of programs and was honored with every major award in broadcasting. Deacon Greg now serves as Multimedia Editor for Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA.) He and his wife live in Forest Hills, New York.
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