We think of history as a rational discipline, looking to books and websites to give us the facts. The truth is that shared memories, whiloe perhaps not wholly accurate, involve more than the sharing of events. In sharing memories, we share much of ourselves, good or bad, in the recounting of how we experienced the past.
193. The lack of historical memory is a serious shortcoming in our society. A mentality that can only say, “Then was then, now is now”, is ultimately immature. Knowing and judging past events is the only way to build a meaningful future. Memory is necessary for growth: “Recall the former days” (Heb 10:32). Listening to the elderly tell their stories is good for children and young people; it makes them feel connected to the living history of their families, their neighborhoods and their country. A family that fails to respect and cherish its grandparents, who are its living memory, is already in decline, whereas a family that remembers has a future. “A society that has no room for the elderly or discards them because they create problems, has a deadly virus”;(Catechesis (4 March 2015))“it is torn from its roots”.(Address at the Meeting with the Elderly (28 September 2014)) Our contemporary experience of being orphans as a result of cultural discontinuity, uprootedness and the collapse of the certainties that shape our lives, challenges us to make our families places where children can sink roots in the rich soil of a collective history.
We might have parents and an extended elderly contingent in our families, but do we function as orphans for the lack of the narrative? What do you think? How is it in your family? For your reference, remember that Amoris Laetitia is online here.