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Longevity is a blessing of God that must not be sacrificed to the logic of efficiency

“It is beautiful to be old!”. This is the Message that Benedict XVI left this morning, Monday, 12 November within the walls of the “home-family” of the Sant’Egidio Community  in Rome –  to which he went “as an old man visiting his peers”, he said, but  “addressing in spirit all the elderly” in the world, on the occasion of the European Year of Active Ageing and of Solidarity Between Generations.

It was a meeting full of warmth and familiarity, during which the Pope addressed a warning to  society “dominated by the logic of efficiency and profit” that mortifies and marginalizes elderly people, deemed non-productive, hence “useless”. Indeed, in recalling the ancient proverb which says that a society, “I mean”, he explained, “a civilization”, is also judged by how it treats elderly people, Benedict XVI called for greater commitment on the part of families and institutions, to ensuring that “the elderly be able stay in their own homes” and be seen as what they are, “bearers” of a “great wealth”, thanks to the wisdom of life that has matured within them. Therefore, “those who make room for the elderly make room for life!”.

Benedict XVI emphasized the value of longevity, which is a “blessing of God”, and shared with his peers the vast opportunities that unfold in this particular stage of life, to be taken in the awareness that even among the difficulties and “a few aches and pains”, each one is “is wanted and loved by God, each one is important and necessary”.

And he or she is so especially for the new generations who can find in the elderly “precious indications for their journey through life”. To young people the Pope recommended essentially the value of inter-generational solidarity. Being “supported and accompanied, feeling the affection of others” is  important in every stage of life, because “no one can live alone and without help”.

The Pope spoke yesterday, Sunday, 11 November, on the value of solidarity,  at the customary prayer meeting of the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St Peter's Square.

“No one is so poor that he cannot give something” he said, commenting on the Gospel episode

of the widow who presented her offering at the Temple of Jerusalem. The spontaneity of the action of that poor woman illuminated by grace, attests to “the inseparable unity between faith and charity, as also between love for God and love for our neighbour”.

The Holy Father then remembered Blessed Maria Luisa Prosperi, a nun and the Abbess of the Benedictine Monastery of Trevi, who lived in the first half of the sixth century and was beatified last Saturday in Spoleto. Lastly, he expressed a thought for farmers across Italy on the day of thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth and a congratulatory greeting to Poles on Polish National Independence Day.

L'Osservatore Romano, November 13, 2012

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