ST.POPE JOHN PAUL II MESSAGE TO THE ELDERLY
Excerpt from the letter of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to the elderly
What is old age? At times it has been referred to the autumn of life — so Cicero calls it (9) — following the analogy suggested by the seasons and the successive phases of nature. We need but look at the changes taking place in the landscape over the course of the year, on the mountains and in the plains, in the meadows, valleys and forests, in the trees and plants. There is a close resemblance between our human bio-rhythms and the natural cycles of
which we are a part.
At the same time however man is set apart from all other realities around him, precisely because he is a person. Made in the image and likeness of God, he is conscious and responsible. Even in his spiritual dimension, though, he experiences the succession of different phases, all equally fleeting. Saint Ephrem the Syrian liked to compare our life to the fingers of a hand, both to emphasize that its length is no more than a span, and to indicate that each phase of life, like the different fingers, has its particular character, and “the fingers represent the five steps by which man advances”.(10)
Consequently, whereas childhood and youth are the times when the human person is being formed and is completely directed towards the future, and — in coming to appreciate his own abilities — makes plans for adulthood, old age is not without its own benefits. As Saint Jerome observes, with the quieting of the passions, it “increases wisdom, and brings more mature counsels”.(11) In a certain sense, it is the season for that wisdom which generally comes from experience, since “time is a great teacher”.(12)
The prayer of the Psalmist is well known: “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart” (Ps 90:12).Elderly people help us to see human affairs with greater wisdom, because life’s vicissitudes have brought them knowledge and maturity. They are the guardians of our collective memory, and thus the privileged interpreters of that body of ideals and common values which support and guide life in society.
To exclude the elderly is in a sense to deny the past, in which the present is firmly rooted,
in the name of a modernity without memory. Precisely because of their mature experience, the elderly are able to offer young people precious advice and guidance. In view of all this, the signs of human frailty which are clearly connected with advanced age become a summons
to the mutual dependence and indispensable solidarity which link the different generations, inasmuch as every person needs others and draws enrichment from the gifts and charisms of all.
Here the reflections of a poet dear to me are pertinent: “It is not the future alone which is eternal, not the future alone!… Indeed, the past too is the age of eternity: Nothing which has already happened will come back today as it was… It will return, but as Idea; it will not return as itself”.(17)Please just take something small with a picture of happy old people even the pope john Paul him self. This was to be near the end Message to all.Nothing about vocation as said very small.
Read the full Letter here