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November 1, 2014

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the elderly


In a special way, old age is a time of grace, in which the Lord renews His call to us; He calls us to safeguard and transmit the faith, He calls us to pray, especially to intercede; He calls us to be close to those in need .... The elderly, grandparents have the ability to understand the most difficult of situations: a great ability! And when they pray for these situations, their prayer is strong; it is powerful!


Grandparents, who have received the blessing to see their children's children (cf. Ps 128:6), are entrusted with a great responsibility: to transmit their life experience, their family history, the history of a community, of a people; to share wisdom with simplicity, and the faith itself the most precious heritage!


Happy is the family who have grandparents close by! A grandfather is a father twice over and a grandmother is a mother twice over.


It is so good to go visit an elderly person! Look at our children: sometimes we see them listless and sad; they go visit an elderly person and become joyful!


Homes for the elderly should be the "lungs" of humanity in a town, a neighborhood or a parish. They should be the "sanctuaries" of humanity where one who is old and weak is cared for and protected like a big brother or sister.


However, the reality is that elderly people are being abandoned: the elderly are so often discarded with an attitude of abandonment, which is actually real and hidden euthanasia! It is the result of a throw away culture which is so harmful to our world.


Children are thrown away, young people are thrown away, because they have no work, and the elderly are thrown away with the pretence of maintaining a "balanced" economy, which has at its center not the human person but money. We are all called to oppose this poisonous, throw away culture!


We Christians, together with all people of good will, are called to patiently build a more diverse, more welcoming, more humane, more inclusive society that does not need to discard those who are weak in body and mind. On the contrary we need a society which measures its success on how the weak are cared for.


As Christians and as citizens, we are called to envision, with imagination and wisdom, ways of facing this challenge. A people who does not take care of grandparents, who does not treat them well has no future!

(Source: Meeting with the elderly, 9/28/2014)