The following is an excerpt from the general audience of Pope Francis, 11th March 2015:
The first important thing to stress about old age is this: it is true that society tends to discard us, but the Lord definitely does not. The Lord never discards us. He calls us to follow him in every age of life, and old age has a grace and a mission too, a vocation from the Lord.
Old age is a vocation. It is not yet time to ‘pull in the oars’. This period of life is different from those before it, there is no doubt; we even have to somewhat ‘invent it ourselves’, because our societies are not ready, spiritually and morally, to appreciate the true value of this stage of life.
Indeed, it once was not so normal to have this time available; it is much more so today. Christian spirituality has also been caught somewhat by surprise with regards to outlining a kind of spirituality of the elderly. But thanks be to God, there is no shortage of the testimony of elderly saints, both men and women.
A great believer of the last century, of the Orthodox Tradition, Olivier Clément, said, ‘A civilisation which has no place for prayer is a civilisation in which old age has lost all meaning. And this is terrifying. For above all, we need old people who pray; prayer is the purpose of old age.’
We need old people who pray because this is the very purpose of old age. The prayer of the elderly is a beautiful thing.”