EG 108-109: Listening to the Young and the Elderly

Vasnetsov_Maria_MagdaleneEvangelii Gaudium‘s Chapter Two concludes:

108. As I mentioned above, I have not sought to offer a complete diagnosis, but I invite communities to complete and enrich these perspectives on the basis of their awareness of the challenges facing them and their neighbors. It is my hope that, in doing so, they will realize that whenever we attempt to read the signs of the times it is helpful to listen to young people and the elderly. Both represent a source of hope for every people. The elderly bring with them memory and the wisdom of experience, which warns us not to foolishly repeat our past mistakes. Young people call us to renewed and expansive hope, for they represent new directions for humanity and open us up to the future, lest we cling to a nostalgia for structures and customs which are no longer life-giving in today’s world.

Are those two groups well-represented in our parishes, on committees, in working and ministry groups. And are such folks welcome? Sometimes I find older people too easily dismissed. (“They’ve done it for years; time for new blood”–which usually means middle-aged blood.) And young people are not pursued eagerly enough. Not just token representation.

I like this attitude, that challenges are a good thing:

109. Challenges exist to be overcome! Let us be realists, but without losing our joy, our boldness and our hope-filled commitment. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of missionary vigor!

Problems exist to be addressed, then overcome.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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