Saturday, March 16, 2013

Pope Francis: The Validity of the Gospel and the Beauty of Old Age

An excerpt from Pope Francis' address to his brother Cardinals:

"...Let us never give in to that pessimism, that bitterness which the devil offers us every day. Let us not give in to pessimism and discouragement; we have that firm confidence which the Holy Spirit gives the Church, with his mighty breath, the courage to persevere and to seek new ways to evangelize, to bring the Gospel to the ends of the Earth (cf. Acts 1:8). The Christian truth is appealing and persuasive because it responds to the profound needs of human existence, announcing convincingly that Christ is the only Savior of the whole man and of all men. This announcement is still valid today, as it was at the beginning of Christianity, when the first great missionary expansion of the Gospel was carried out.

Dear Brothers, courage! Half of us are elderly: old age is – as I love to say — the seat of the wisdom of life. The old have the wisdom of having walked in life, like the elderly Simeon, the aged Anna in the temple. And it was precisely that wisdom that made them recognize Jesus. We offer this wisdom to the young: like good wine, which over the years becomes better, we give to young people the wisdom of life. I am reminded of what a German poet said of old age: “Es ist ruhig, das Alter, und fromm”: it is the time of tranquility and of prayer. And also of giving young people this wisdom. You will now go back to your sees to continue your ministry, enriched by the experience of these days, so full of faith and ecclesial communion. This unique and incomparable experience has enabled us to grasp deeply the whole beauty of the ecclesial reality, which is a reflection of the splendor of the risen Christ: one day we will look upon that beautiful face of the Risen Christ!

To the powerful intercession of Mary, our Mother, Mother of the Church, I entrust my ministry and your ministry. Under her motherly gaze, may each of us walk joyfully, obedient to the voice of her divine Son, strengthening unity, persevering together in prayer and witnessing to genuine faith in the continuous presence of the Lord. With these sentiments – they are real! – with these sentiments, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing, which I extend to your collaborators and to the persons entrusted to your pastoral care."