By Junno Arocho
VATICAN CITY, NOV. 13, 2012 (Zenit.org). – The Holy visited the “Viva Gli Anziani” Retirement home for the elderly yesterday in Rome, saying that he came not only as Bishop of Rome, but as well as “an elderly man visiting his peers.
The Holy Father said that although many times the elderly regret the loss of youth, it is not a cause for sadness. “It is beautiful to be elderly!” the Pope exclaimed.
“It is necessary to discover in every age the presence and blessing of the Lord and the riches it contains. We must never let ourselves be imprisoned by sadness! We received the gift of a long life. It is lovely to live also at our age, despite some “aches and pains” and some limitations. On our face there must always be the joy of feeling ourselves loved by God, never sadness,” he said.
Pope Benedict said that while long life is considered a blessing in the Bible, in today’s society that is “dominated by the logic of efficiency and profit”, the elderly are regarded as non-productive or useless.
“I think that we should act with greater commitment, beginning with families and public institutions, so that the elderly are able to stay in their own homes,” the Pope said.
“The wisdom of life, of which they are bearers, is a great richness. The quality of a society, I would say of a civilization, is also judged by the way the elderly are treated and the place given to them in ordinary living. Those who make room for the elderly make room for life! Those who received the elderly receive life!”
Citing the example of Blessed Pope John Paul II as “illuminating”, the Holy Father called on the elderly residents of the home to deepen their relationship with God through prayer. Pope Benedict also called on them to pray for the Church and for the world.
“The Pope loves you and counts on all of you! Feel yourselves loved by God and be able to bring to our society, often so individualistic and efficient, a ray of the love of God. And God will be with you always and with all those who support you with their affection and help,” the Pope said.