Pope’s teaching: “Practice of faith is not a thing for old people”

Through the testimony of Old Eleazar, Pope Francis in his teaching pointed to the special relationship between the fidelity of old age and the honor of faith as an example for youth. While at the beginning of this Marian month, he called everyone to honor the Mother of Jesus with filial confidence

Vatican

At his public meeting this morning – which was held in St. Peter’s Square and attended by many believers and pilgrims from different countries – the Holy Father delivered his Eighth Catechesis on Old Age entitled: “Eleazar, Consolidation of Faith, Legacy of Honor.”

In fact, as an introduction, we set out to read some passages of the Book of Second Maccabees which narrate the vicissitudes of ancient Eleazar, one of the chief teachers of the law—whose life had been impeccable since his childhood—who refused to eat beef. Pig in respect of the sacred canons laid down by God, with the intent that the young see that he will not accept pagan customs for fear of losing the young life he left, without offending himself in his old age.

Pope Francis began by saying:

“On the path of catechism in old age, we meet today with a biblical figure named Eleazar, an old man who lived in the time of the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanius. His character gives us testimony of the special relationship that exists between the fidelity of old age and the honor of faith”

Before referring to Eleazar’s “quiet and resolute response” based on an interesting argument, the pontiff alluded to the pretense and religious and priestly hypocrisy that persists today.

To our dear brothers and sisters present, speaking in our language, the Pope, recalling the figure of Eleazar, affirmed that the Bible tells us “that this noble old man was proposed to gain a few more days of life if he betrayed the teachings of God, but he rejected this possibility resolutely and courageously.”

“Eleazar decided to die instead of denying the faith he professed, thus setting an example of sincerity and constancy for posterity. His testimony leaves us a great legacy: to be consistent with our faith, that is, to act always according to what we believe, until the end of our days”

No to the temptation to separate faith from life

Francis said that “temptation Separating faith and life We can also find it today in different ways.” For example – he added – “We see that the practice of faith is often presented in a negative way, ridiculed or marginalized, or seen as something ‘old man’, something useless and even harmful to one’s existence.

“Gnostic temptation is always present”

Confronting this, the Pope added:

“We are called to witness that faith is not something reserved for one stage of life, but a blessing for all, a gift that always deserves respect and honor.”

Reply to faith honor

Certainly – said Francis, speaking in Italian – “We know that the exercise of faith can become an outward phenomenon without a soul. But in itself it is not at all. Perhaps it is up to us elders precisely to restore the faith to its dignity. Make it consistent.”

He added,

“The exercise of faith is not a symbol of our weakness, but a sign of its strength. We are no longer children, nor children. We were not joking when we got in the way of the Lord!”

Greetings from the Pope

In a warm greeting to the Spanish-speaking pilgrims and before blessing them, the Holy Father recommended:

“Let us ask the Holy Spirit to help us be faithful and courageous witnesses to Christ, and above all to be consistent when difficulties test our faith.”

Greetings dear Portuguese-speaking worshippers, the Pope welcomed in a special way the students and teachers of the Horizonte School in Porto. And he reminded everyone that we had just begun the month of May, “which traditionally invites Christians to multiply their daily gestures in honor of the Virgin Mary. The secret of his peace and courage was this certainty: nothing is impossible with God.”

“We have to learn this from the Mother of God. Let us show our gratitude by praying the Rosary every day.”

To the English-speaking pilgrims present in today’s audience, Francis specifically addressed pilgrims from England, Norway, Canada and the USA.

“I address a special greeting to the various ecumenical groups and religions. With the joy of the Risen Christ, I invite each of you, and your families, to the love of God our merciful Father.”

The Bishop of Rome also warmly received the French-speaking pilgrims, especially the representatives of the Via Romana, the “Community of Astronomy” and the French youth.

“Brothers and sisters, by our prayers and closeness we can be a comfort and support for the elderly, especially in times when the weight of age and suffering exposes them to abandoning their faith.”

To our dear German-speaking brothers and sisters, the Pope also reminded them that the month of May is dedicated to the Mother of God, Our Mother. Hence his call “to invoke his intercession for his personal intentions, the intentions of the Church, and peace in the world.”

And in welcoming the Poles, the pontiff noted that yesterday they celebrated the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Poland.

“In Jasna Góra they remembered the blessed Cardinal Wyszyński, who taught them to trust Mary in the most difficult moments in their history. Following her example, hand over to the Virgin the fate of your country and peace in Europe “

In his salutation to the Arabic-speaking believers, Francis reminded them that “faith has changed our lives, purified our minds, and taught us to worship God and love our neighbor. It is a blessing to all and deserves respect and honor.”

Finally, in his warm welcome to Italian-speaking pilgrims, the Bishop of Rome received in a special way the Assembly “SIMBA” of Taranto and the Carpi Choir “Voces y Manos Blancas”.

And after addressing his thoughts, as usual, to the elderly, the sick, the young, and the newlyweds, the Pope said:

“At the beginning of this Marian month, I invite everyone to honor the Mother of Jesus with filial confidence: her vision as a teacher of prayer and spiritual life.”

Before conveying his blessing to everyone and singing Our Father in Latin, the Pope apologized for not being able to pass through the ranks of those present due to the pain in his knee, which he said was “accidental”.

General Audience of Pope Francis, Wednesday 4 May 2022

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