The Fruit Seniors Bear
The prospect of aging can cause feelings of fear and dread. In a society where the measure of a person’s value and worth fall heavily on the side of work and productivity, it’s no surprise that some elderly people feel irrelevant, useless, invisible, and unloved. If we go to the peripheries, as Pope Francis urges, we often find the elderly there, seemingly forgotten and alone.
Last year, our Pope, himself an octogenarian, designated the fourth Sunday in July as the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly. It’s designed to be close to the feast on July 26 of Sts. Joachim and Anne, the grandparents of Jesus. The hope is to highlight and celebrate the ongoing contributions of older people to the Church and society. This year’s theme, from Psalm 92:15, is: “They shall bear fruit even in old age.” Taking up the Scripture-verse theme for the day, which this year is July 24, we’re asked to reflect on the “fruit” that the elderly bear in our times.
Bearing the Sabbath
Rest goes with aging. Age can force one to take a breather from work, deadlines, schedules, and much of what society demands. Observing the Sabbath includes rest from work and an amplified responsibility to focus on God. To visit an elder (“a senior”) is to answer the call to sit and rest a while. It’s a kind of Sabbath. Also use it as a respite from social media, technology, and the general busyness of life by resting in the presence of one who knows the preciousness of time can restore our sense of well-being and peace.
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