At his general audience yesterday, Pope Francis gave his last catechesis on the value and meaning of old age, a reflection on Jesus’ farewell to his disciples during the Last Supper.

“Our existence on earth is the time of the initiation of life; it is life, but one that leads you toward a fuller life, a life which finds fulfillment only in God.”

Pope Francis said while old age brings frailty and unique challenges, it can also be a time of “exciting blessings of faith.”

“In old age the works of faith, which bring us and others closer to the Kingdom of God, are by now beyond the power of the energy, words, and impulses of youth and maturity.

Old age lived with gentleness and respect for real life definitively dissolves the misconception of a Church that adapts to the worldly condition, thinking that by so doing it can definitively govern its perfection and fulfilment.”

He went on to explain our time here is that of a “novitiate” preparing for eternal life that will be “superior to the time of our mortal life.”

“We are apprentices of life, who — amid a thousand difficulties — learn to appreciate God’s gift, honoring the responsibility of sharing it and making it bear fruit for everyone. We are imperfect from the very beginning, and we remain imperfect up to the end.”

He added that the passing of time is “not a threat, it is a promise,” which you shouldn’t try to prevent because life isn’t meant to be “wrapped up in itself in an imaginary earthly perfection,” but is instead “destined to go beyond, through the passage of death.”

“The conceit of stopping time — of wanting eternal youth, unlimited well-being, absolute power — is not only impossible, it is delusional. Our stable place, our destination is not here. It is beside the Lord, where He dwells forever.”

Concluding, Pope Francis said old age is something to look forward too, a time of our lives that “renders Jesus’ promise transparent.”

“Old age is the phase in life most suited to spreading the joyful news that life is the initiation to a final fulfilment. Old age knows definitively, by now, the meaning of time and the limitations of the place in which we live our initiation. This is why old age is wise. And the best is yet to come.” 

🙏 Pray for graceful aging!

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  1. All pilgrims be they young or young at heart – are privileged to be marching shoulder to shoulder on God’s Holy Ground.


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