Why does the former always have a problem with the latter?
Or, why does before have difficulty with after?
Or old, a problem with the new?
St. Paul says something like: Because the old man gets lost in thinking that what comes after should be even older somehow. He comes to believe, as an old man, that God’s creature is bound to get older and older, when of course, God’s creature can only be bound to get newer and newer; in fact, must continue on and on this way until he is just as soft, supple and obedient as child held in the arms of God. He believes the younger serves the older, when it is the older who actually serves the younger.
The old man becomes unaware that he faces the wrong way; believing he walks toward oldness when in fact, he walks backwards toward newness. And should he ever turn around, sadly, maybe with envy in his old heart, the young and the new—bright as the morning sun—will walk in front instead of behind him. Yet if he is willing, he will let them lead him by the hand and dress him into his salvation and manner of death. But if he isn’t, he will turn back to his oldness and watch, with ever-growing frustration, himself recede into a past he fatally pretends is in front and spurn his youngness in a future he pretends is long behind.
Hardness and oldness and meanness, which are all the same, come, not from age, but from disobedience to God. And—consider well! this mystery of the “sternness and kindness of God”—because of the disobedience of the old and hard and mean, God reveals and gives Himself to the young and soft and new. And because of God’s mercy to His disobedient young, the disobedient old become envious of Salvation, which maybe, just maybe, collapses their heart into His mercy anew.