Pope Francis: ‘The Faith Is Passed On In Dialect’
“The faith is passed on in dialect, that is, in familiar speech, between grandparents and grandchildren, between parents and their children.
“The faith is always handed on in dialect, in that familiar dialect and experience of the years. This is the reason dialogue in a family is so important, the dialogue of children with their grandparents, who are the ones who have the wisdom of the faith.”
These words were at the core of the Holy Father’s message at today’s General Audience as he continued his catecheses on old age.“When Moses pronounces this confession of faith, he is on the threshold of the promised land, and also of his departure from life.,” Pope Francis recalled. “He was one hundred and twenty years old, the account notes, ‘but his eye was not dim’ (Dt 34:7).He opened his remarks by recalling the “Song of Moses” from Deuteronomy 32 in which Moses professes his faith and passes on his experience to the coming generations.
“That capacity to see, to really see, but also to see symbolically, as the elderly do, who are able to see things, [to see] the most radical significance of things. The vitality of his gaze is a precious gift: it enables him to pass on the legacy of his long experience of life and faith, with the necessary clarity. Moses sees history and passes on history; the elderly see history and pass on history.”
The Pope suggested that there are many ways of learning the faith that are helpful: books, films, even the internet. However, nothing takes the place of direct transmission of the old to the young. Without that dialogue, the connection between grandparents and grandchildren that provides personal testimony is lacking. Grandparents provide a “precious gift”.
“An older person, one who has lived a long time, and receives the gift of a lucid and passionate testimony of his history, is an irreplaceable blessing,” Francis stressed. “… it is very important to listen to the elderly, to listen to grandparents: for the children to converse with them.”
Download Holy Father’s full commentary – ‘Catechesis on Old Age’