Deliver Us From the Evil One. Amen.

This morning on TV there was a commercial for a retirement community out in Virginia. You know, the ones where seniors can be found playing golf, swimming, reading, laughing, etc. in a carefully manicure and controlled environment? Nothing out of the ordinary really…but a sinister thought struck me.

Has anyone read C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters?

Ever since reading that book and seeing the play two years ago, I look at the world differently…as a place where a spiritual battle is truly being fought.

What does this have to do with retirement communities? Well, let me give the genre a crack.

Dear Wormwood,

With age comes wisdom. All humans know that. Life experience is often the best teacher, and every year a human lives, he or she gets wiser. They can’t help themselves; it’s just written in their souls. Through every relationship, hardship, success, experience of death, experience of new life, they see clearer glimpses the one who calls himself love. Ugh! Unfortunately, we can’t stop this revelation, but we can certainly try! Wise, old people are our worst enemy, especially if they are happy!

Our goal is to do everything in our power to keep these wise, old, happy from sharing their wisdom with anyone, especially children! So, what can we do? Seclude them of course! Get them far away from their families and neighborhoods.

It’s particularly helpful if these retirement communities are smelly or dimly lit or unattractive in any way. That way children will not want to go talk to the old people, even if they are family. Consequently, they won’t receive any of the wisdom these happy, old people have to offer.

Now, a word of caution. We must be vigilant about young people who work at these retirement communities, school groups who volunteer there, and families who for some reason force their children to visit their grandparents. Do everything you can to distract them, confuse them, interrupt them, etc. All conversations, story-telling, and letter-writing must be blocked.

Silence and seclusion. That is the key.         


12 Replies to “Deliver Us From the Evil One. Amen.”

  1. Well done…
    Reading that book is so helpful to understanding the many ways the devil and his minions work.

  2. If the old people are sad, the strategy needs to be to delay as long as possible the moment at which they discover they can love again and remember their love for their own children. These situations would help our Enemy’s cause as they evoke the generosity and patience necessary to conquer the temptation to fixate on their own sadness. Do not suffer the little children to bring their love unto them! Remind the patients how boisterous children can be.

  3. There’s a classic science-fiction book, whose name is escaping me, in which people are euthanized on their 60th birthday so that they don’t steal resources from the young.

  4. That’s good, makes me think of an older couple that I know who I haven’t seen in a little while and should go see. Thanks for the reminder!!!

  5. Being that it is the choice of these retired people to remove themselves from the rest of the world in order to live thier lives of leisure, I believe something else is going.

    1. I was thinking something along similar lines. A friend of mine recently found out she is pregnant again after nearly 12 years. It was quite a suprise! Her mother recently moved into a retirement community and is often busy with new friends and numerous activities. At the baby shower, I spoke to the grandmother and said, “Wow, after all of these years, you must be so excited to have a brand new baby!” She replied, “Yes, it’s nice, but I am in a different place in my life now.” And she proceeded to excitedly tell me about her new community of friends. It struck me oddly.

      1. My grandmother is the same way! It has something to do with living in those retirement communities. She is always busy with a million different activities and things.

  6. I agree with your point — as a society we certainly don’t do ourselves any favors by excluding our older members (or convincing them that they want to exclude themselves). However, I think there are two sides to this issue.

    First, I’m not always so sure that people in some retirement communities are the ones who make the choice to be there. My experience with that type of community is limited, but from the few conversations I had with residents at one place I volunteered at, most of them were there because their children found it more convenient for them to be somewhere where they (the children) didn’t have to do much to take care of them, except perhaps to write a monthly check. (I realize that this may be more the case in assisted living communities, which differ from retirement communities, where there isn’t really the same level of caregiving going on….)

    Second, as for the self-selected retirement community residents, I recall reading an article in the WSJ a while back about some “over-50 only” developments that had run into financial problems in the wake of the housing crash, and had started to allow people with children to buy houses in the developments. This, of course, royally irked the people who had bought houses for the sole purpose of “getting away from the brats.” (This is a slight paraphrase, but that was the gist of what several residents were willing to go on record as having said.)

    So, it seems that there is a lot of selfishness and lack of understanding as to what it means to be a family in both the younger and older generations. As you correctly point out, the result is that everyone loses out.

    1. I am not without sympathy for older folks who want to limit their contact with children. It is true that some just don’t want to be bothered with childish behavior, but others may be concerned about being injured. One fall can be all it takes to go from living independently to residing in an assisted-living facility or even a nursing home.

      Keeping their distance may not be so much selfishness, but feeling frail and vulnerable.

  7. Interesting article. I know the Legion of Mary at St. Jane de Chantal Mary’s House at St. Mary’s and prays the rosary with the elderly people. I wonder how praying the rosary factors into this.

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