Address at the conference ‘Ageing well Victoria 2022 – Riding the waves of change’ conducted by the Australian Association of Gerontology at the City of Melbourne Bowls Club, 3 June 2022.
. I spend about one hour in meditation every day, and have done so for over 60 years. It has been invaluable for health of body, mind and spirit. In meditation, I become very still and from this stillness a great energy arises. It is based on a great sense of confidence. I know I am loved. It is a time of peace and joy, of deep awareness and surprise, of discovery and intimacy.
. I am a Catholic priest and have been profoundly influenced by the Hindu spiritual tradition. This has led to involvement with the different faith traditions of Melbourne. The work of interfaith dialogue with Muslims, and Jews, Hindus and Buddhists, is fascinating and stimulating. I am still involved in it and still feel of use in developing harmony among peoples.
. Life, with its up and down, its joys and sorrows, is like painting a picture with all its colours and contours. Old age is like stepping back in wonder at the painting. I acknowledge my life. I consciously choose the good in it and say ‘This is who I am’. I tell my story. Human dignity does not come from wealth or fame but from wisdom and quality of soul. The greatest form of functionality in old age is to knowingly choose who we have been, who we really are.
. Old age is not the end of life but rather a staging-post. I see my life in time as the programming of a richer life. My life is a seed that has been planted and which will bear fruit, somehow, for others as well as for me. It is a positive outlook. I look forward to a happy death, with the peace that comes from forgiving and being forgiven, with the exhilarating prospect of unending joy and love.