This week, my dear friend Jane congratulated me on turning fifty. "I didn't do anything," I told her. "I just kept breathing."
If you want to call me an antique I would not mind. Consider this definition from the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary:
Some people say that anything over 50 years old can be called an antique, while others say an antique must be over 100 years old. The term is usually applied to objects that are valuable because they are rare or are of high quality. In the US the word antique can also describe any object that is old enough to be interesting and unusual, or was made by hand in the days before factories.
See what I mean? But truly, all we have and all we do is not of our making. The older I become, the more I realize that and the more I appreciate the wise men and women who came before me. I'd like to learn more about St. Francis, whose feast day we celebrate today and whose name I took as my confirmation name in eighth grade. His Canticle of the Sun makes for an excellent birthday prayer. I pray I will spend well the time with which I will be blessed.
Most high, all powerful, all good Lord! All praise is yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing. To you, alone, Most High, do they belong. No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.
Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures, especially through my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day; and you give light through him. And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor! Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.
Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars; in the heavens you have made them, precious and beautiful.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air, and clouds and storms, and all the weather, through which you give your creatures sustenance.
Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water; she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom you brighten the night. He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.
Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth, who feeds us and rules us, and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.
Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of you; through those who endure sickness and trial. Happy those who endure in peace, for by you, Most High, they will be crowned.
Be praised, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death, from whose embrace no living person can escape. Woe to those who die in mortal sin! Happy those she finds doing your most holy will. The second death can do no harm to them.
Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks, and serve him with great humility.