“I was interested to read that recently Pope Benedict visited a Home for the Elderly in Rome. He told residents there, ‘I come among you as the Bishop of Rome, but also as an elder on a visit to his peers.’
Looking back on his own life, the Pope called it a natural tendency in one’s old age to envy the ‘fresh energy’ of youth and all those plans for the future. The past can become ‘veiled with sadness’ if considered with remorse, the Pope told the group of seniors, but this is not what God wants.
‘In every age, we must be able to detect the presence and blessing of the Lord and the treasures it contains.
Do not ever be imprisoned with sadness!
We have received the gift of a long life. In our face there is always the joy of feeling loved by God and never sadness.’ The Pope directed the seniors’ attention to the Bible – in which longevity is considered a blessing from God – noting that elders were rightly honoured in the past.
But in the modern world ‘dominated by the logic of efficiency and profit’ the elderly are often pushed to the wayside, considered useless and left to loneliness. The Pope asserted, this is the mark of a deteriorating civilisation, since a community is defined by the way it treats its elderly members.
‘He who makes room for the elderly makes room for life! Whoever receives the elderly welcomes life!’ declared the 85 year old Pope. He also reminded the elderly that they have a special vocation to prayer, shattering the illusion that the elderly are non-productive members of society. At the end of his remarks, Pope Benedict called on all people to heed the ‘wisdom of life’ the elderly bear and support them with love and friendship.
…We have always valued our elderly parishioners. We ask them to pray for us and our parish. We rely on these prayers to make fruitful the work that we do for God. Also we echo the thoughts of Pope Benedict that our younger people should always respect the elderly and profit from the wisdom which they have accumulated over their many years of life experience. Perhaps the most memorable words Pope Benedict said in his speech were, ‘IT IS BEAUTIFUL TO BE OLD’.”
– from “Spiritual Thought from Fr Chris”