Remember to “pay it backwards”. Remember our seasoned brethren.

I am not sure where I heard this, in the ongoing scrum of COVID-19 news coverage and discussion.   I often multitask when the news is on.  I don’t even remember if this was the exact phrase that was used, but somehow it stuck in my head.

Pay It Backwards.

Remember the movie “Pay It Forward”?  The idea is simple.  Think of a good thing to for someone else with the hope that they will do the same, and so on and so on.

In this time of the virus, and the vulnerability that older people have, think about paying it backwards.   There are older people out there who worked so that we could have to good things and comforts that we have.  Many of them, due to age, have fewer and fewer people with whom they are engaged.  Most of them, I suspect, are in no way prepared for the sort of isolation that is probably coming down the pike… fast.

I have in mind especially older priests.  They often don’t have a lot of family, near or far.   Some are really alone.

They baptized you, heard your confessions, married you, said Mass for you, anointed you or your loved ones when sick or dying, taught you, encouraged you.

Some of them are not so diligent in their vocations.  They, too, still need attention, which could move their hearts.

I imagine that all of you out there can think of a couple good things to do for others who are older than you.   Pay it backwards, in that sense, as well as paying it forward.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Spinmamma says:

    Excellent reminder.

  2. In some dioceses, priests are provided with a retirement facility, and while under current circumstances visitors are probably not allowed, in normal times that is perhaps a good place to look for elderly priests in need of companionship. My uncle had many fascinating stories to tell from his nursing home bed, and I cherish the days I visited him as he was preparing to meet the Lord. I’m sure other priests have similarly interesting stories to tell to a fresh audience.

  3. Semper Gumby says:


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