Do You Have Memories of Your Grandparents?
My personal relationship with my grandparents is complicated. I never knew either my father’s or mother’s parents. Yet I know more about my great grandparents than just about anyone reading these words.
I know the names of my maternal grandparents back to 1794. On my father’s side, I know the names of his grandparents as far back as the 12th generation in 1495!
Yet I have often felt I missed out on the wonderful gift grandparents can give their children. I hear so many speak reverently about the love they experienced from their grandparents. It is different from the love of their parents.
The closest I had as a grandparent was my Aunt Tessie. She was the one who did not have day-to-day responsibility for me and showed the different dimensions of love people associate with grandparents.
Pope Francis’ memories
Pope Francis speaks from his heart when he speaks of his grandparents. I was not surprised when he declared a World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly. We celebrate it each year on the fourth Sunday of July to coincide with the feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne, Jesus’ grandparents, July 26. (2022 Message)
In his 80’s Francis carries this memory…
“I had the grace to grow up in a family where faith was lived in a simple and concrete way; but it was above all my grandmother, my father’s mother, who marked my path of faith.
She was a woman who explained to us, who spoke to us about Jesus, who taught us the Catechism.
I always remember that on Good Friday evening she would take us to the candlelight procession, and at the end of this procession… my grandmother would make us children kneel, and she would say: “Look, he is dead, but tomorrow he will rise again”.
I received the first Christian announcement from this woman, from my grandmother! That’s beautiful! The first announcement at home, with the family! And this makes me think of the love of many mothers and grandmothers in the transmission of the faith. It is they who transmit the faith”.
Pope Francis’ Wednesday reflections on Grandparents and the Elderly
In an extraordinarily rich series of Wednesday public audiences, he has explored various dimensions of grand parenting and the life of the elderly.
He set the tone in the first of the series…
We heard the prophecy of Joel: “your old men shall dream dreams and your young men shall see visions” (2:28).
It can be interpreted as follows: when the elderly resist the Spirit, burying their dreams in the past, the young can no longer see the things that must be done to open up the future. When, on the other hand, the old communicate their dreams, the young see clearly what they have to do.
Young people who no longer question the dreams of the old, aiming headlong at visions that do not go beyond their noses, will struggle to carry their present and bear their future.
If grandparents fall back on their melancholies, young people will look even more to their smartphones. The screen may stay on, but life will die out before its time.
The old have resources of life already lived that they can call upon at any moment. Will they stand by and watch young people lose their vision, or will they accompany them by warming their dreams?
- You and your grandparents and elders
- What kind of memories do you have?
- Is there something you hope to leave for the next generation?
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