“An old age that is consumed in the discouragement of lost opportunities causes discouragement to itself and to everyone. On the contrary, old age lived with meekness and respect for real life definitively dissolves the misunderstanding of a power that must be sufficient for itself and for itself. success.”
“Old age is noble, you don’t need to wear makeup to show your nobility”. After the pause in July and the reflection in the last week dedicated to his Apostolic Journey to Canada, Pope Francis resumed at the General Audience this Wednesday his catechesis – the last ones – on old age, “time designed for realization”.
In a Paul VI Hall full of faithful, Francis began by explaining that the Gospel of Saint John makes us enter into the moving intimacy of the moment when Jesus says goodbye to his own, with words of consolation and with a promise. The time of life that remains for the disciples will be marked by weaknesses and challenges, but also by the blessings that come from faith in the Lord’s promise.
With the arrival of old age, since the works of faith no longer depend on the energy and impetus characteristic of youth and adulthood, the right time also arrives for the witness of this wait in the fulfillment of the promise, which constitutes our true destiny. : a place at table with God, in heaven.
“It would be interesting – the Pope said – to see if there is any specific reference in the local Churches, aimed at revitalizing this special ministry of waiting on the Lord, encouraging the individual charisms and community qualities of the elderly person”, and he makes an observation:
When we free ourselves from this presumption – the Holy Father said – the time of aging that God grants us is already in itself one of those “greater” works of which Jesus speaks:
Remember that “time is superior to space”. It is the law of initiation. Our life is not destined to close in on itself, in an imaginary earthly perfection: it is destined to go beyond, through the passage of death, because death is a passage. In fact, our stable place, our point of arrival, is not here, it is next to the Lord, where He dwells forever.
In short, on earth “we are apprentices of life”, here begins the process of our “novitiate”, says the Pontiff, “who, in the midst of a thousand difficulties, learning to appreciate the gift of God, honoring the responsibility of sharing it and to make it bear fruit for all”. And “the time of life on earth is the grace of this passage”.
The presumption of stopping time – said the Pope – “wanting eternal youth, unlimited wealth, absolute power”, is not only impossible, but also delusional.
In old age there is “the depth of the gaze of faith”. “God’s world is an infinite space, on which the passage of time no longer has any weight (…). In our preaching, Paradise is often, rightly, full of happiness, light and love. it lacks a little life. In the parables, Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of God, giving it more life. Are we no longer capable of doing that?” Francis asks.
In conclusion, the Pope offers a summary of his catechesis on the third age, seen from the perspective of the passage to eternal life:
Old age is the most suitable phase of life to spread the good news that life is an initiation to a definitive realization. The old are a promise, a witness of promise. And the best is yet to come. The best is yet to come. It’s like the message of the old man and the old woman who believe, the best is yet to come. God grant us all an old age capable of it. Thanks!