RETIREMENT: Preparing to die. Now what?

It may not be the case that, if you retire, you are just waiting to die.  My guess is that it is the default position of most people, unless you put something in the void to fill it. The question becomes, with what do you fill it?

Some of us fill the void wth travel, visiting grandkids and family, camping, RVing, Sea Cruising, eating out at exotic places around the world. Then we get old and can’t travel, now what?

Some of us go to school to learn French, cooking delectible meals for friends, joining Senior Citizens groups to go on a bus tour of Civil War Monuments, having Church study groups of the Bible or how to do gardening or painting, going to movies. Then, people start to die off, and you begin to be alone. Now what?

Some of us are young and fortunate enough  to work again in some capacity. We just want something to fill the void, then, after three or four years, we get too tired to do it anymore. Now what?

Some of us throw ourselves into Church work, and this is satisfying because there are other Seniors there of life mind and belief. After a while, we get burned out and slowly relinquish our participation. Now what?

The point is, what actually sustains us, not only now but in the future and provides us with meaning and activity for our minds and helps us prepare for the next big travel adventure, the trip to Forever?

I try to keep my mind active because I don’t want to it to atrophy, so I write almost every day. I write books no one reads on subjects that no one wants to address. I try to go to places where no one wants to look–the inner sanctum, the place in the deepest part of me where my dreams lie waiting to be exorcised by some innocent soul opening the door of enlightenment. Long ago, I gave us trying to publish books through a publisher of reputation. I do my own publishing, with all it faults and failings. I have very little money to write my books and my blog, and even if I publish something, I am belittled and challenged that we don’t have money for my hobby (more of a theraputic healing for me). I am blocked at every turn and told I am a failure and no good, yet I continue, if only for myself.

Five things in life make me genuinely happy.

  • God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit
  • The Cistercian and Lay Cistercian communities of Faith plus my local group of Good Shepherd in Tallahassee
  • My family in good time and in bad
  • My Lay Cistercian promise to have in me the mind of Christ Jesus now and later on sustained through Cistercian prayer and charisms using silence and solitude
  • My writing books and blog on my Lay Cistercian experiences

If you are a retiree, you probably have things that make you happy (those things that will sustain you for the rest of your life, activities, people, prayer, work. What are they? The Scriptures tell us to seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and all else will follow. I believe that, even though it makes my family uncomfortable when I say it that way. Think about it. If you are centered on what is real, what is true, what will sustain your mind and heart now and in the life to come, then you don’t have a void as a retiree. Your void is full of the Holy Spirit.

I am not afraid of retirement, or keeping myself busy with things that do not matter. How about you? Here are some thoughts from a broken-down, old, Lay Cistercian.

DAILY THOUGHTS (taken from my blog)

DUALITY OF LIFE: Those who do not have Faith from God see a light at the end of the tunnel of life but it is only a flashlight with two Duracel batteries in it. Those who have Faith from God (grace) and see a light at the end of their tunnel of life, either because they need a neart transplant or have cancer, find out the light comes not from this life at all, but from the Light of Christ in Heaven, leaving the light on for us.

DUALITY OF LIFE: You have essentially two choices in life. One is choosing you as center of the universe with all that it implies (i.e., you are god, you make uo all the rules, no one can tell you what to do with your body, do what makes you happy, you have to be faithful to who you think you are, love is what you say it is) or God is the center (covenant relationship, Resurrection of Christ, Philippians 2:5, you must deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow Christ, Christ is the only gateway to the Father, the Holy Spirit continues life, love others as Christ has loved you). All choices are the choice of Adam and Eve– they are god or God is God. All sin has an element of idolatry in it, in that we make outselves as the center of the universe verses doing God’s will as manifested through the Faith of the Church Universal.

The three rules of the spiritual universe are: The Rule of Threes, The Rule of Rovolving Centers, and the Rule of Opposites. Science has Laws governing matter and energy. Spirituality has Rules, but these Rules comes from God, not humans. The Rule of Threes: To be fulfilled as a human being, you must live in all three universes (physical, mental, and spiritual). The Rule of Revolving Centers (Original Sin) means you will be tempted to choose between good and evil your whole life on earth; The Rule of Opposites means, once you choose to enter the spiritual universe, everything is the opposite of what the World teaches. You are a pilgrim in a foreign land until you get to Heaven.

The one place you are afraid to look is the one place where you will find rest for your soul and peace for the anxiety of your heart. In the holy of holies of your innermost self. Christ is there. Contemplation, using silence and solitude, is the doorway to your inner self. You sit on a bench on a cold, cold day and wait for Christ to come by. It is the anticipation that is your prayer, not your words or thoughts. Love is the force that drives you out in the cold (Original Sin) to hope Christ comes by. Your waiting is a prayer, your hope to see Him is your prayer, your faith is our prayer. Blessed are those who wait for the Lord and hope in his arrival in their hearts.

When you calumniate and detract from others, your own integrity goes down the drain with the one you grasped so tightly.

I am not you; you are not me; God is not you, and you, most certainly, are not God. –mfc

I can’t stand Natonal News of any type these days. It is too hate-filled. News used to be journalism now it is just sensationalism that sells. The President is not respected by both Democrats and Republicans. One thing about respect, if you pull someone down, you lose respect yourself. Mud thrown is ground lost. What both political parties are doing to the American electorate is far worse than what Russia is alledged to have done to our elections. (I wonder who will be the Special Council to look into what our Country has done to the elections in other countries. Double standard? Triple standard?) Journalism becomes so predictable. I can tell what the news is before any publication. I know exactly what the Democrat platform is–whatever President Trump is for, we are against. That violates my intelligence. Republicans are not for President Trump but tolerate him. That violates my sense of participation and compromise–needed when you legislate.  I watch sports channels like First Things First and The Herd with Colin Cowherd, National Geographic, and History Channel.  I am even beginning to enjoy The World Cup.


Idolatry is the number one sin to which humans fall victim by Satan. It is the primal, archetypal sin of Adam and Eve and the root of all sins we commit. Modern idolatry says:

  • My body is mine to control and no one can tell me what to do with it.
  • I have the right to take my own life, if I want.
  • Stealing is okay, as long as you don’t get caught.
  • It’s just sex.
  • You people have a guilt hang up with sex.
  • Living together by two consenting adults s natural.
  • I don’t believe what I cannot see.
  • I determine what is right and wrong for me.


All sin has consequences. Adam and Eve has consequences to their Original Sin. We have consequences to the sins we commit. Granted, we don’t go about committing adultery, murder and offering incense to idols, the three big offenses that cut you off from the Body of Christ, but we do sin when we don’t love others as Christ loved us. We are the archer that misses the mark, the dart thrower that can’t hit the bulls eye, the driver who loses the road map and gets lost in the back roads of thinking he or she is God. Reparation for past sins is something I practice. There is an order of Carmelite nuns who live at the former consentation camp at Dachau whose purpose if to make reparation to God for the sins of humanity in killing all those people.

Do you ask the right question, when you ask God to heal you of your physical or mental infirmity, then you don’t get better? Are you expecting that God does your will or do you do God’s will? What is the right question?

How many times should you pray before you get your prayers answered? If you pray ten times a day is that better than a prayer from the heart? Does praying make you holy or are you holy because you lift up your heart and mind to God?


Faith is not the same as belief. Faith is when God adopts you as son or daughter. Belief is when you acceept adoption. No one deserves adoption.

The practice of conversion from self to God means you must practice daily. No free lunch. Read Matthew 25:31-49. What do you practice? Eucharist is food; Reconciliation is making all things new; doing means loving Jesus as He loved us. Read Chapter 4 of the Rule of St. Benedict each day and you may become what you read. I hope that I do.

You have had a successful career in the military or government service or as a health care professional and you retire. Now what? What is your next milestone? What does it profit a man, if he should gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul?  What is the worth of your life in the grand design? There are seven questions that you must answer before you die. Everyone must answer them. No exceptions. Some don’t even know what the questions are. Do you? I do.

We know what love is because Christ loves us. (Phil 2:5-12).

Want to know the secrets of the gods? How about the secret of Jesus? It is this: there are no secrets. Jesus says: I have revealed to you all that my Father has revealed to me. So, what have you done with the secrets you have received from Jesus?


Just because your road is rocky, doesn’t mean you are on the wrong road.  –mfc


When you see this goldfish bowl, are you the fish looking out, or the person outside looking in?


Christ left us just one command: love one another as I have loved you.  How ironic that this seemingly innocuous statement contains all that we need to get to Heaven. Like so many other statements from Christ, there are layers upon layers of meaning hidden beneath the surface, waiting to be teased out by curious minds and hearts over a lifetime.  –mfc


When you die, stand before God, your Creator, and wait for your particular judgement before entering Heaven, there is no line with those who are bishops and clergy at the beginning, and we sinners in the rear. The line is a  horizontal one one not a vertical  one. Each person will be called by name to answer for what they have done or not done. Matthew 25::31. There is but one command Jesus us: love one another as I have loved you. Of course, everything is packed into that one drop of Faith, much like a black hole contains super ,ultra-dense matter.

Baptism is not just about your acceptance of God, but of God’s adoption of you as an heir of the Kingdom.  –mfc

A friend once asked me to explain the difference between a clergyman and a layman. I told him, the clergyman is told where to go by the bishop, whereas the layman can tell the bishop where to go.  mfc

You are not me; I am not you; God is not you, and you, most certainly are not God.  –mfc


Blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it.


When you are more obsessed with how many times you read the bible more than hearing the Word of God and keeping it, you have the hyprocrite’s itch.  -mfc


Some people take more care of their car with tune-ups and change of tires than they do with their relationship with God. Doing nothing for a relationship, any relationship, will not sustain it. If you fell away from the Church, don’t blame it on God or the Church.  –mfc

If you are what you eat, then what are you if you hate God?  –mfc

Praise be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever. The God who is, who was, and who is to come at the end of the ages. Amen and Amen. –Cistercian doxology


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: