“Why is old age not appreciated in so many ways? Because it bears the undeniable evidence of the end of this myth, that makes us want to return to our mother’s womb always to return with a young body.”
The pope said that when old age is seen from the correct perspective, it has “a unique beauty.”
“Old age is the condition granted to many of us in which the miracle of this birth from above can be intimately assimilated and rendered credible for the human community,” he reflected.
“It does not communicate a nostalgia for a birth in time, but of a love for our final destination. In this perspective, old age has a unique beauty — we are journeying toward the Eternal.”
He added: “No one can re-enter their mother’s womb, not even using its technological and consumeristic substitute. This is not wisdom; this is not a journey that has been accomplished; this is artificial. That would be sad, even if it were possible. The elderly person moves ahead; the elderly person journeys toward the final destination, towards God’s heaven; the elderly person journeys with the wisdom of lived experience.”
“Old age, therefore, is a special time of disassociating the future from the technocratic illusion of a biological and robotic survival, especially because it opens one to the tenderness of the creative and generative womb of God.”
Concluding his address, Pope Francis said that today’s “throwaway culture” mistakenly sought to “throw out the elderly.”
“The elderly are the messengers of the future, the elderly are the messengers of tenderness, the elderly are the messengers of the wisdom of lived experience. Let us move forward and watch the elderly,” he commented.
A summary of the pope’s catechesis was then read out in seven languages.
Addressing English-speaking Catholics, he said: “I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially those from England, the Philippines, and the United States of America.”
“I offer a special greeting to the many student groups present. Upon you and your families I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you!”
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Speaking to Polish pilgrims, the pope noted that June 8 is the anniversary of the canonization of the 14th-century Polish queen St. Jagwiga, which took place in 1997.
He said: “During her canonization, St. John Paul II recalled that through her work, Poland was united with Lithuania and Rus’. Entrust yourselves to her intercession, praying as she did at the foot of the Cross for peace in Europe. I bless you from my heart.”
Watch Pope Francis’ Full Catechesis Here: