General Audience: Pope Highlights the Unique Virtues of Old Age

In Wednesday’s catechesis, the Pope highlighted the example of Judith, a virtuous young woman, example of generosity in her old age.

Newsroom (13/05/2022 12:30 PM Gaudium Press) During Wednesday’s audience in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope continued his catechesis on old age. The Pontiff highlighted the example of Judith. She is the heroine of the Old Testament, prefigure of Our Lady, who, “as an old woman, she was able to live a season of fullness and serenity, in the knowledge that she had lived to the fullest the mission the Lord had entrusted to her.”

 “Judith is a young and virtuous Jewish widow who, thanks to her faith, beauty and cunning, saved the city of Bethulia and the people of Judah from the siege of Holofernes, general of Nebuchadnezzar king of Assyria, an overbearing and contemptuous enemy of God,” Francis emphasized.

After these adventures, Judith returns to her city, Bethulia, where she lived a beautiful old age until she was 105.

How do we make the most of the time God gives us, such as old age? asked the Pope.

“Judith was soon widowed and had no children, but, as an old woman, she was able to live a season of fullness and serenity, in the knowledge that she had lived to the fullest the mission the Lord had entrusted to her. It was time for her to leave the good legacy of wisdom, tenderness, and gifts for her family and her community: a legacy of goodness and not only of goods,” said the Pontiff.

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Today, grandparents can also transmit this heritage.

The almost unique gifts of old age

The Lord gives talents not only to the young and strong, but also to the elderly; he gives them a more attentive and human look, a more penetrating gaze, in addition to other gifts and charisms that society must value, gifts of wisdom that they can transmit.

With the passing of time, “the previous skills of active life lose their constraint and become resources to be given away: teaching, advising, building, caring, listening … preferably in favour of the most disadvantaged who cannot afford any learning or who are abandoned in their loneliness,” Francis emphasized.

The Pope invited people to read the book of Judith, “this story of a courageous woman who ends up this way, with tenderness, generosity, a worthy woman.” 

He wished women such an end to their lives, courageous and wise that they leave above all as an inheritance the wisdom sown in the new generations.

With information from Vatican News.

Compiled by Gustavo Kralj

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