Old age a Time to Rediscover Trust in the Lord: Pope Francis

Pope Francis’ general audience in St. Peter’s Square, June 1, 2022. Vatican Media.

Pope Francis said Wednesday that old age can be a time to rediscover trust in the Lord.

“The elderly, by virtue of their weakness, can teach those who are living in other stages of life that we all need to abandon ourselves to the Lord, to invoke his help,” the pope said at his June 1 general audience.

“In this sense, we must all learn from old age: yes, there is a gift in being elderly, understood as abandoning oneself to the care of others, starting with God himself.”

Speaking in St. Peter’s Square, the pope quoted lines from Psalm 71: “Be my rock of refuge, my stronghold to give me safety; for you are my rock and fortress.”

He reflected: “The elder of the Psalm we have heard, this elderly man who sees his old age as a defeat, rediscovers trust in the Lord. He feels the need to be helped. And he turns to God.”


The pope also quoted St. Augustine’s commentary on the psalm: “Fear not, that you be cast away in that weakness, in that old age.”

“Why do you fear lest He should forsake you, lest He cast you away for the time of old age, when your strength shall have failed? Yea at that time in you will be the strength of Him, when your strength shall have failed,” the pope said, quoting Augustine’s “Exposition on Psalm 71.”

The pope’s live-streamed catechesis was the 12th in a cycle on old age that he began in February. He entered St. Peter’s Square in a white jeep, stopping to invite children in to join him for a ride in the popemobile as he greeted pilgrims.

The jeep drove up to a raised platform in front of St. Peter’s Basilica, where the 85-year-old was helped to exit the vehicle and walk up to his seat using a cane.

In his catechesis, the pope asked why modern civilization is “so uncomfortable with sickness and old age.”

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He underlined that the elderly possess wisdom and are “the memory of the family, the memory of humanity, the memory of the country.”

“Remember that you too will become elderly. Old age comes for everyone,” he said.

“And treat the elderly today as you would wish to be treated in your old age.”

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At the end of the audience, Pope Francis appealed for a resolution to the blockade of Ukrainian grain exports, condemning the use of a staple food “as a weapon of war.”


In his message to pilgrims from Poland, the pope also noted that the month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and urged Catholics to share his love and mercy with others.

Pope Francis also prayed for an outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit on the Solemnity of Pentecost on June 5, praying in particular for the young, the elderly, the sick, and newlyweds.

“May the Holy Spirit be to you, young people, as ‘wind and fire’ that preserves you from sluggishness, impelling you to the love of great ideals and to commitment to the Church and society,” he said.

“May he be for you, the elderly and the sick, the ‘Comforter’ who accompanies you in your daily toil, giving you the certainty of God’s love.”

“May he be for you, newlyweds, a source of ‘communion’ that makes you grow in mutual love.”

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Courtney Mares is a Rome Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. A graduate of Harvard University, she has reported from news bureaus on three continents and was awarded the Gardner Fellowship for her work with North Korean refugees.