Pope Francis offered advice on Wednesday about how to live in retirement fruitfully by leaving “a legacy of good, rather than just goods.”
Speaking during his general audience on May 11, the pope said that retirement can be a “time to leave a good legacy of wisdom, tenderness, and gifts for the family and the community.”
“When we think of an inheritance, at times we think of goods, and not of the goodness that is done in old age, and that has been sown. That goodness is the best legacy we can leave,” he said in St. Peter’s Square.
The pope commented that true heroism was not only found in great events of history, but also in the “love poured out in a difficult family and on behalf of a threatened community.”
Pope Francis highlighted the biblical example of Judith, whom he praised for her heroism and her faith.
The Book of Judith in the Old Testament relates how Judith saved the city of Bethulia by cutting off the head of the Assyrian general Holofernes, who was besieging the city.
“After her great adventure, Judith returned to live in her town, Bethulia, where she lived her old age beautifully, until she was 105,” the pope noted.
In her “retirement,” Judith continued to provide a heroic example by dedicating her time to her family and her community, as well as through charitable works, like that of granting “freedom to her favorite handmaid,” the pope said.
Pope Francis pointed to how many retirees can devote themselves to the joy of helping to look after grandchildren, providing them with “irreplaceable lessons.” But he also noted that “today fewer and fewer children are born, and parents are often more far away.”
He said: “Judith was soon widowed and had no children, but, as an old woman, she was able to live a season of fullness and serenity, in the knowledge that she had lived to the fullest the mission the Lord had entrusted to her.”
“When we are old, we lose some of our sight, but our inner gaze becomes more penetrating – one sees with the heart. We become capable of seeing things that previously escaped us … It is true: the Lord does not entrust his talents only to the young and the strong. He has talents for everyone, made to fit each person, the elderly too,” he said.
“The life of our communities must know how to benefit from the talents and charisms of so many elderly people who are already retired, but who are a wealth to be treasured.”
Pope Francis arrived at his live-streamed general audience sitting in the popemobile and greeted pilgrims while making several laps around St. Peter’s Square.
At one point, the pope asked the popemobile to stop and invited some children to ride on board with him.