(CNS photo/Vatican Media)

March 16, 2022

Continuing his catechesis at the Wednesday General Audience on the meaning and value of old age, Pope Francis explores the vital role the elderly can play in handing on life’s true and sustaining values to younger generations.

Pope Francis held his weekly General Audience in the Paul VI Audience Hall on Wednesday.

Continuing his catechetical series on the meaning and value of old age, he looked at the vital role of how the elderly can hand on to new generations life’s true and sustaining values.

The opening Scripture reading for the audience spoke about how God entrusts the elderly Noah with the task of restoring the goodness of creation, corrupted by the spread of violence and wickedness.

Conversion to God’s Kingdom

The Pope spoke about how Jesus Himself speaks of the “days of Noah” in warning us of the need for conversion in view of the imminent coming of God’s Kingdom – the definitive salvation and spiritual renewal for all humanity.

And he warned that, in every age as in the days of Noah, we can be tempted to accept sin and corruption as normal and overlook the unjust suffering of the poor and the destruction of our natural environment.

Throwaway culture

The Pope pointed out that in our own day, these are the fruits of a materialistic, self-centred and spiritually-empty throwaway culture.

And the elderly, like Noah, can warn us of this danger and remind us of our God-given call to be guardians and stewards of his creation.

“The special sensibility of old age for the attention, thoughts and affections that make us human, should once again become the vocation of many. And it will be a choice of the love of the elderly towards the new generations. God’s blessing chooses old age, for this charism that is so human and humanizing.”

Dawn of new Creation

In conclusion, Pope Francis invited people to allow that, “Noah’s example and prayers inspire our elderly to appreciate their special charism, and help to build a new ‘ark’ of welcome, care and hope, for the future of our world and the dawn of the new creation.”

“In his care for life, in all its forms, Noah obeys God’s commandment, repeating the tender and generous gesture of creation, which in reality is the very thought that inspires the command of God: a new blessing, a new creation (cf. Gen 8: 15-9,17). Noah’s vocation remains ever relevant. The holy patriarch must once again intercede for us.”

By Vatican News staff reporter

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