The Pope’s general intention this month is that we would respect the wisdom and experience of older people. The Jesuit ministry of the Apostleship of Prayer (praying with and for the Pope’s intentions) is being promoted especially by Jesuits and colleagues from the provinces of Ireland, Great Britain, North Belgium and Holland. This prayer ministry is close to the Pope’s heart.
You can ‘Pray with the Pope’ on the Sacred Space website and you can read Michael Beattie SJ’s February reflection as an aid to prayer, below:
There is a very touching scene in the second chapter of St Luke’s gospel when Mary and Joseph bring the child Jesus to the Temple to say thank you for his birth. They are met by two very old people, Simeon and Anna. The young couple with their baby and this elderly couple whose lives have been dedicated to the loving service of God. It would have been wonderful to have been ‘a fly on the wall’ to listen to the full conversation that would have taken place at this meeting. St Luke gives us the famous words of Simeon, repeated every night of the year in the night prayer of the Church. What more was said? We can only guess. All we know about Anna was that she was regarded as being a prophetess and she spoke of the deliverance of Jerusalem.
This month we remember in our daily intention the importance of respecting the experience and the wisdom of the elderly. In a materialistic. and often these days, a godless society the frail and the elderly can so easily be pushed to one side because they do not seem to be of much use! How untrue this is! Take one instance alone. How important grandparents are in helping parents to bring their children, especially their adolescent children, to maturity. Grandparents have a wisdom and a presence and most important of all, the time to share that wisdom with young people perhaps in a way that is beyond the capability of busy and harassed parents.
As we pray for the elderly let us also ask for the intercession of Simeon and Anna. Meeting Jesus was Simeon’s finest hour. Old people may have their own finest hour in the way they are present to the young and the not so young.
Fr Michael Beattie SJ