Listening to the Holy Father speak about the respect we owe the elderly, how can you not flash back to beauty of how John Paul II suffered the pain of his final days?
I remember in her celebration of the late Holy Father, John Paul the Great: Remembering a Spiritual Father, Peggy Noonan wrote of those end days, which George Weigel calls his “last encyclical”:
What courage is around us. And the most obvious example was the old man of the Vatican whose crozier shook as he held it high, and whose message was never more eloquent than when he could not speak.
What death he had. To die in public, with the whole world watching, to work to the very end, to attempt to speak to the world through the window of his Vatican apartments a few days before he died, to struggle and fail and try again, and then to wave, as if he knew we understood. He held on to life as if to show us what he had for so long told us—life is precious, love it, use it, pour yourself out. Spend yourself.”
Cue to pray Cardinal Newman’s “Radiating Christ” prayer again.