Our lolos and lolas—they are as close to angels as you can imagine: They take care of grandchildren, they protect them, they educate them with wisdom and patience. Their presence in the family is truly invaluable, especially in moments of chaos and celebration.
The Pope believes this very much. His grandparents always had beautiful words for their grandchildren, words of esteem and human respect. For example, one of the Pope’s homilies in Casa Santa Marta was dedicated to a lesson received from a grandmother way back when he lived in Argentina. She told the future Pope, “God forgives everything, because if God does not forgive everything, the world would not exist!” This is a lesson that, according to the Holy Father, we should never forget. Pope Francis also admits following the example of his grandmother Rosa, who transmitted the faith to him.
The Forgotten Ones
Sadly, in many parts of the world, grandparents are among those categories of people whom you only remember when it suits you. They are victims of the “culture of waste,” against which Pope Francis fights hard.
One time, when Pope Francis received Vatican employees for Christmas greetings at the Paul VI Audience Hall, he encouraged them not to neglect marriage and children. At the same time, he also made a strong point to all those who were present: “But let us take care of our grandparents too: Grandparents are important! They have the memory, they have the wisdom. Don’t set your grandparents aside!” He then shared one of his many moving anecdotes by saying, “A young lady told me that she has a 7-year- old son, and that her 90-year-old grandmother lives with her. She was advised to take the grandmother to a nursing home. And this wise woman, who did not study at a university, responded: ‘No! I want my son to grow up next to my grandmother!’”
Grandparents Are Our Treasure
Luckily, most Filipinos are in agreement with Pope Francis, who believes that grandparents, no doubt, are a gift, a richness, for the Church and the world. In fact, even our nickname of the Pope is Lolo Kiko—because we feel he is a loving grandfather to us all. So let us all continue to respect and care for our grandparents, who are also lasting witnesses of conjugal fidelity. Let them be an example to the many young people who get restless and believe that it is impossible to be with the same person for a lifetime.
The Grandparent’s Assignment
What is a grandparent’s assignment? The Pope recalled them during a general audience: To intercede for the expectations of the new generations and give dignity to the memory and sacrifices of the past. To remind ambitious young people that a life without love is an arid life. To tell the fearful that the anguish of the future can be overcome. To teach those too in love with themselves that there is more joy in giving than in receiving. And what is our assignment as Filipinos? It’s to show the world by our example how to cherish our elders.