May 25, 2022
At the Wednesday General Audience, Pope Francis continues his catechesis on old age, and urges the elderly to hold on to their passion for justice while resisting the temptation to accumulate knowledge without turning it into action.
Pope Francis reflected on the Old Testament Book of Qoheleth, or Ecclesiastes, at the weekly General Audience, noting how its refrain “everything is vanity” represents a particular temptation in our own day and age.
He said the wise man Qoheleth bounced back and forth from sense and meaninglessness in his quest for knowledge of life, saying he teetered on non-sense when leaning toward knowledge detached from “passion for justice.”
Qoheleth, added the Pope, concluded his book with an indication of how to get out of the trap: “Fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole duty of man.”
Elderly must embrace passion for justice
Pope Francis said each of us has been tempted toward indifference when we see that our efforts seem to produce no results and reality appears to turn everything—both good and bad—into nothingness.
He added that “a kind of negative intuition” especially tempts people advanced in years, possibly leading them to disenchantment.
The Pope said our contemporary world believes it can “measure and manipulate everything”, which then results in “a collective demoralization of meaning, love, and goodness.”
Truth without action leads to paralysis
The Holy Father went on to reflect on why knowledge detached from action is so harmful to a person.
Pope Francis said modern culture “combines knowledge and irresponsibility” in an attempt to take away the moral impact of our actions, and takes us down the path of “paralysis of the soul.”
By Devin Watkins