Have any of you seen the Rose Window in Notre Dame Cathedral? Fr. Robert Barron winds down his book 'Catholicism' observing that the rose Window is a meditation on the numbers 8 and 88. He explains, "Eight is the symbol of eternity, since it stands immediately outside of seven, which evokes the seven days of the week, or the completed cycle of time."
I went through a gloriously irascible stage I called "octogenarian snob" a couple years ago, when I would wake up every morning and have a holy hour breakfast with three giant B's buzzing in my bonnet: Balthasar, Benedict, and Barth. It was the opposite of hanging with simple believers, shepherd folk, Eucharistic adorers. it was like hanging out with the Three Wise Kings who were pouring treasure troves of literary adoration at the Child Jesus' feet. Besides having a shared love of Mozart in common, they were reflecting back on their long life's journey to find the face of The Lord. All three were well older than eighty at the time of their writings.
Can any of you sympathize with how the rest of my day was listening to young pups under 80 yapping about who knows what?
The Rose Window has 88 shapes. Is it coincidental that there are 88 keys on a standard piano? When I listen to Pope Benedict, I could swear he was writing Theological music, virtuoso like Mozart, hitting all 88 keys.
(I think this is what Pope Francis is saying. "Kids...kids...stop pounding the same 4 or 5 dark keys over and over. Its gonna wake up the nasty neighbors! There are some high keys like joy, hope, and mercy and some low keys like humility, service, and simplicity our family and good-willed friends need to hear ." I digress.)
8 - the pure heart of a child genius - who is trusting simple, and affectionate embodying still the hope all 8 beatitudes (Howard Gardener also posits 8 types of genius. This is fun to ponder.)
88 -- The mature wisdom of an adult who knows true from false, good from evil, and better from best.
St. Thomas was said to have the piety of a child along with the wisdom of an adult. (No wonder he was given a sneak preview of the Big Show!) The same twinkle in the eye of my 80 year old mom who passed away this Spring was the same one I'm sure her father saw when she was an 8 year old child.
Simple things are the best things after all. Bugs and hugs, butterflies and Baby's feet!
"The Perfect Age?" --- I do not think there is a "perfect" age. Only God is perfect. Since man was created in the image of God, no matter what age we may be we are perfect in the sense of appearance. While every person may have their own thoughts,opinions and ideas of what they think is their perfect age I think the manner in which we live out our daily christian lives will show the "perfect age". Our receptiveness to the graces given to us by the holy spirit is reflected in living our days in prayer, meditation, hearing mass, avoiding sin, practicing the corporal works and spiritual works of mercy et al. All of these good works will reflect to others that we are at a "perfect" age in our life, here on earth.
Just my thoughts...;)