Just as fine wine grows stronger with age, grandparents and other elderly Catholics “have the strength to leave us a noble inheritance,” Pope Francis said at early morning Mass today.
Celebrating the liturgy in the chapel of his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis once again denounced a cultural tendency “to discard” the elderly “because they are a bother.”
Instead, “the elderly are those who transmit history to us, who transmit doctrine, who transmit the faith and give it to us as an inheritance,” the Pope said, according to Vatican Radio.
Pope Francis said that as a child, he heard a story of a family with a mother, father, many children and a grandfather, who would get food all over his face when he ate. The father bought a small table and set it off to the side so the grandfather would eat, make a mess and not disturb the rest of the family.
One day, the Pope said, the father comes home and finds one of his sons playing with a piece of wood. “What are you making?” says the father. “A table,” the son replies. “Why?” the father asks. “It’s for you, Dad, when you’re old like grandpa,” he says.
“This story has done me such good throughout my life,” said the Pope, who will celebrate his 77th birthday on December 17.
“Grandparents are a treasure,” he said. “Often old age isn’t pretty, right? There is sickness and all that, but the wisdom our grandparents have is something we must welcome as an inheritance.”
A society or community that does not value, respect and care for its elderly members “doesn’t have a future because it has no memory, it’s lost its memory,” Pope Francis added.