As we advance in years, we have a tendency to focus on the mistakes we made when we were younger, the wrong choices, the opportunities missed, the lack of caution that resulted in catastrophe, the temptations to which we offered no resistance, and so on. There is certainly place in maturity for such reflections, and for the regret that makes them poignant, that sometimes even makes them sorrowful.

But it is very important, as we grow in knowledge and discernment (Philippians 1: 9), that we do not lose hold of our affection and respect for the innocence that occasioned most of those mistakes, even though the thing itself, the innocence, may be lost to us, recoverable now only through an act of grace. Where that innocence lacked wisdom, it overflowed in courage and buoyancy and passionate hope, and these are precious and fragile attributes of spirit, qualities to love and pray for.

When Jesus, from the Cross, handed over His mother to the care of His beloved disciple, He was handing over what had been precious in the old dispensation along with its shortcomings to the guardianship of the new, His church. As members of His church, we must never lose our affection for the old testament, whatever errors its qualities may have occasioned.

And this is the lesson for each one of us as well, as we grow old in knowledge and discernment.

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