We pray for the elderly, who represent the roots and memory of a people; may their experience and wisdom help young people to look towards the future with hope and responsibility.
What a rich gift we have in the experiences and wisdom of our elderly brothers and sisters. These people are our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, teachers, coaches, and more. They are those who have witnessed shifts in culture and the endurance of the human spirit. They have experienced hardships, and they have welcomed joy. They have made mistakes. They have found better ways. Their perspective and insights are a gift that cannot be duplicated, and these must not be lost.
And yet so often we younger people do not care for the elderly as we should. We focus on the moment and neglect the reality that what has come before plays a role in what is to come. We strive to stay youthful ourselves, rather than appreciate the gray hair that Proverbs calls “a crown of glory . . . gained by a life that is just” (Proverbs 16:31).
What’s more, the older people in our communities remain sons and daughters of the living God. Proverbs tells us, “The glory of the young is their strength, and the dignity of the old is gray hair.” The dignity of the elderly is our responsibility. We pray for a shift in our individual and communal priorities. May we make time to sit with the elderly, to pray with and for them, to listen to their stories, and to help heal what remains broken in them.
Through the Sacraments of the Church, may we tend to the spaces in our elderly brothers and sisters that yearn for mercy. May we together experience hope and deepen our faith. In doing so, may we teach our children to respect and honor the senior members of our families and communities.
Lindsay Schlegel is a daughter of God who seeks to encourage, inspire, and lift others up to be all they were created to be through writing, editing, and speaking. She is the author of Don’t Forget to Say Thank You: And Other Parenting Lessons That Brought Me Closer to God and the host of the podcast Quote Me with Lindsay Schlegel. Lindsay lives in New Jersey with her family.