BY Daniel Harkins | March 11 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

Pope accepts kiss from elderly woman during general audience in St. Peter's Square at Vatican

The Lord does not discard the elderly, says Pope Francis

While the Holy Father spoke today at the general audience about being a member of an age group with a special grace and mission, he has also revealed he himself hopes for a pain-free death

Pope Francis has told the elderly that, while society tends to discard them, the Lord does not.

For the second week running, the Holy Father used his general audience to focus on grandparents and the elderly. Speaking to assembled pilgrims from across the world who came to Rome’s St Peter’s Square, the Pope said that he is a member an age group that contains a special grace and mission. It is not time for that age group to give up and be marginalised, he said.

“I still treasure the words my grandmother wrote to me on the day of my ordination,” the Pope told the pilgrims. “I carry them with me to this day inside my breviary.

“The Gospel offers us the image of Simeon and Anna as two older persons who hope in the Lord’s promises and then, when perhaps least expected, see them at last fulfilled. Simeon and Anna are models of a spirituality for the elderly.

“They point to the centrality of prayer; indeed, the prayer of grandparents is a great grace for families and for the Church. In prayer, they thank the Lord for his blessings, otherwise so often unacknowledged; intercede for the hopes and needs of the young; and lift up to God the memory and sacrifices of past generations.

“The purifying power of faith and prayer also helps us to find the wisest way to teach the young that the true meaning of life is found in self-sacrificing love and concern for others. In a society which overlooks and even discards the elderly, may the Church acknowledge their contribution and gifts, and help them to foster a fruitful dialogue between the generations!”

The Pope has also been candid about ageing and dying in a newspaper interview with an Argentinian shanty town’s community paper.

“Look, life is in God’s hands. I told the Lord: ‘You are taking care of me. But if your will is that I die or that they do something to me, I ask you only one favour: That it doesn’t hurt. Because I’m a big coward when it comes to physical pain,’” the Pope told La Carcova News in light-hearted, off-the-cuff comments in an interview published this month.




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