It is natural that, as the years pass, we should increasingly consider our “twilight.” If nothing else, we are reminded of it by the very fact that the ranks of our family members, friends and acquaintances grow ever thinner; we become aware of this in a number of ways, when for example we attend family reunions, gatherings of our childhood friends, classmates from school and university, or former colleagues from the military or the seminary. The line separating life and death runs through our communities and moves inexorably nearer to each of us. If life is a pilgrimage towards our heavenly home, then old age is the most natural time to look towards the threshold of eternity.

And yet, even we elderly people find it hard to resign ourselves to the prospect of making this passage. In our human condition touched by sin, death presents a certain dark side which cannot but bring sadness and fear. How could it be otherwise?

-- From "Letter to the Elderly," October 1, 1999