Help Now >
Pope Francis calls desire for eternal youth 'delusional'
FREE Catholic Classes
Speaking at his live-streamed general audience on Aug. 10, the pope pointed out that from the Christian perspective, the passing of time "is not a threat, it is a promise."
Photo by: Wikimedia Commons
"The conceit of stopping time -- of wanting eternal youth, unlimited wellbeing, absolute power -- is not only impossible, it is delusional," Pope Francis said in Vatican City's Paul VI Hall.
"Our existence on earth is the time of the initiation of life; it is life, but one that leads you toward a fuller life ... a life which finds fulfillment only in God."
The pope underlined that life on earth is best understood as a "novitiate," a preparation for an eternal life in heaven that will be "superior to the time of our mortal life."
"We are apprentices of life, who -- amid a thousand difficulties -- learn to appreciate God's gift, honoring the responsibility of sharing it and making it bear fruit for everyone," he said.
"We are imperfect from the very beginning, and we remain imperfect up to the end," Francis added.
He explained that life is not meant to "be wrapped up in itself in an imaginary earthly perfection."
Life "is destined to go beyond, through the passage of death -- because death is a passage. Indeed, ... our destination is not here, it is beside the Lord, where he dwells forever," the pope said.
With this reflection, Pope Francis concluded a cycle of catechesis on old age that he began in February.
During this time, the 85-year-old pope has faced health problems that limited his mobility, particularly an injury to his right knee.
For his final catechesis on old age, the pope walked slowly using a cane as he made his way onto the stage of the audience hall. He later greeted the crowd from a wheelchair.
Pope Francis underscored that old age should be a time of "expectation" that brings one closer to life's fulfillment in God.
"In the fulfillment of God's promise, the relationship is inverted: the space of God, which Jesus prepares for us with the utmost care, is superior to the time of our mortal life. Hence: old age brings closer the hope of this fulfillment," Pope Francis said.
"Old age knows definitively, by now, the meaning of time and the limitations of the place in which we live our initiation. This is why old age is wise. God's world is an infinite space, in which the passage of time no longer carries any weight," he said.
At the end of the audience, Pope Francis prayed for Cuba, where a lightning strike at an oil facility set off multiple explosions of fuel storage tanks and caused a devastating fire.
The pope also expressed his continued concern for Ukraine, where people are "still suffering from this cruel war," and for migrants.
In total, Pope Francis gave 16 reflections on the dignity of the elderly in his audiences this year. He has not yet said what will be the next topic for his weekly catecheses when he starts a new cycle next Wednesday morning.
"Old age is the phase in life most suited to spreading the joyful news that life is the initiation to a final fulfillment. The elderly are a promise, a witness of promise. And the best is yet to come," Pope Francis said.
Join the Movement
When you sign up below, you don't just join an email list - you're joining an entire movement for Free world class Catholic education.
Mysteries of the Rosary
Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Saint of the Day for Thursday, Sept 29th, 2022
St. Michael the Archangel
The Apostles' Creed
Unfailing Prayer to St. Anthony
Prayer of the Day for Thursday, Sept 29
- Daily Readings for Friday, September 30, 2022
- St. Jerome: Saint of the Day for Friday, September 30, 2022
- Guardian Angel Prayer #2: Prayer of the Day for Friday, September 30, 2022
- Daily Readings for Thursday, September 29, 2022
- St. Michael the Archangel: Saint of the Day for Thursday, September 29, 2022
- Holy Archangel Who Strengthened Our Lord in His Agony: Prayer of the Day for Thursday, September 29, 2022
FREE Catholic Classes Pick a class, you can learn anything
Help Now >
Copyright 2022 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2022 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.
Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.