It’s my birthday in a few days, and for some time I’ve fallen into a demographic that attracts greeting cards with age-related jabs. From what I can tell, "over the hill" sentiments start up near age 40 and continue on for a good many birthdays — until the cards curiously become more congratulatory as a ripe old age approaches. I guess that means being over the hill is bad, but for some reason way over the hill is good.
Anyway, this week I’m trying to view my birthday not from the number of years reached, but by taking stock of what I’ve done with those years. I especially wonder, have I grown in my faith as we’re called to do throughout our lives? If so, by how much?
The sports people have all kinds of statistics to document whether an athlete succeeds or fails. Bank accounts and other assets reflect how much one is "worth." So what are my faith stats?
Do I pray more than I used to? Do I sin more often, or less? Has the severity of my sins decreased? Have I increased my level of good deeds — my giving of time, talent and treasure?
Am I more attentive at Mass? Do I feel closer to God? Am I more compassionate and understanding of others? Do I have a clearer sense of right and wrong? Am I more loving, patient and kind? Have my relationships with friends and family deepened? Do I welcome strangers more readily?
More often than not, there are no conclusive, documentable answers — and I’d have to believe that’s by God’s design. Perhaps it’s more about never abandoning the effort to grow faith-wise, and leaving the scorekeeping up to him.