Source: Vatican Media/Messenger Publications
Film director Martin Scorsese was guest of honour at the launch of Sharing the Wisdom of Time, by Pope Francis, at the Augustinianum Institute in Rome on Tuesday afternoon. The event was opened by Archbishop Jose Domingo Ulloa Mendieta, of Panama, who will be welcoming the Holy Father to World Youth Day next January.
Sharing the Wisdom of Time, which includes the stories of young and old people from around the globe, was especially commissioned by Pope Francis following the success of the New York Times bestseller, Dear Pope Francis. It is illustrated with stunning photographic portraits taken by National Geographic photographer Paul Audia.
In the book Pope Francis brings the different generations together - helping each to confront a changing world. The lessons learned by older generations become a gift to the young, empowering them to step into the world of tomorrow.
Amongst the many older people from all around the world featured are three Irish people: Des O'Grady SJ, Dublin, who sees some light in the darkness of living with Alzheimer's; Margaret Irwin West, Connemara, an artist in her 90s still working and exhibiting, who speaks about the importance of light and hope; and former nurse and granny, Margaret O'Reilly from Derry, who tells of a valuable lesson she learnt as a child.
In his preface, Pope Francis complains that "our society has silenced the voices of grandparents. We pushed them out of the way. We didn't give them the chance to share their experiences, to tell their stories, and to speak about their lives. We put them aside, and so we have lost the treasure of their wisdom.
During the launch, Pope Francis answered some six questions. He encouraged young people to listen and to bond with their elders in an effort to counter a culture of waste, a growing indifference to the plight of migrants and refugees, and a dangerous resurgence of populism that spurns hatred and intolerance.
Speaking off-the-cuff, Pope Francis also touched on current themes and issues such as migration and the tragedy of so many forced migrants and refugees who die during their journeys of hope and of the responsibility of policy-makers and world leaders to find solutions that safeguard the lives and dignity of all; the importance of cultivating memory so that evils - such as wars - witnessed in history are not repeated; the danger of populism that gives rise to hatred and intolerance.
Martin Scorsese writes in the book about a time in which he was rejected by a producer, who said he had no talent. "When you're young, you imagine that there's an ideal state called 'success.' You'd struggle, you'd be recognised, you'd finally 'arrive,' and … The End," Scorsese writes. "But arrive where? To do what? Take it easy? … To be acclaimed, validated is sheer euphoria. But it can be a trap because it might lead you to believe that you're permanently safe from further failure and rejection. And then, when you make something that isn't greeted as warmly or that's even hated, you'll feel like the bottom has dropped out."
"I think I've learned more from failure, rejection and outright hostility than I have from success," Scorsese wrote.
Pope Francis responded to him saying that he doesn't accept that "everyone is born with their fate already written." "Our life does not play out like a movie where the scenes are all predetermined. A movie director may know this better than anyone else," he said. "We must freely encounter life and God."
"The success of life is not glory but patience. Sometimes you need a lot of it. The wise elder has so much patience, and this is the wisdom that leads you to dream," Pope Francis said."
Sharing the Wisdom of Time by Pope Francis and friends is published by Jesuit publishers around the world. Messenger Publications, Dublin will publish the book in Ireland and the UK.
Watch Martin Scorsese's address at the launch: www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbBsrmbYrLc
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