statement, made recently by the Pope to the 24 new Cardinals created in
a consistory in Rome, is straight and true. It is also the
precise statement that should be directed to the members of the Laity,
of the Church", who are too
frequently ignored in the life of today's Church. As witnessed by
the massive departure of practicing Roman Catholics in recent decades, "Pray, Pay and Obey" just won't cut it any more.
ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
God's Criteria of Greatness Is Service, Says Pope
Notes Christ's Example as Basis of New Relationships
VATICAN CITY, NOV. 22, 2010 (Zenit.org).- In God's eyes, greatness is
not measured by a level of dominion, but rather the way a person
serves, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope stated this Saturday in his homily during the consistory in
which 24 new cardinals were created.
He reminded the cardinals that Jesus tells his disciples, "Whoever
wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes
to be first among you must be the slave of all."
"The criterion of greatness and primacy according to God is not
dominion but service," the Pontiff stated.
He pointed to Jesus, who "also indicates the point of reference: the
Son of Man, who came to serve, summarizes his mission under the
category of service, understood not in the generic sense, but in the
concrete way of the Cross, of the total gift of life as 'ransom,' as
redemption for many, and he indicates it as condition to follow him."
"It is a message that is true for the Apostles, for the whole Church,
true above all for those who have tasks to guide the people of God,"
the Holy Father said.
"It is not the logic of dominion, of power according to human
criteria," he added, "but the logic of bending down to wash the feet,
the logic of service, the logic of the Cross, which is at the bottom of
all exercise of authority."
Benedict XVI observed that Christ's "style of life becomes the basis of
new relationships within the Christian community and a new way of
Way of the Cross
He continued, "Jesus is on the way to Jerusalem and proclaims for the
third time, indicating to his disciples the way by which he intends to
fulfill the work entrusted to him by the Father: It is the way of the
humble gift of self to the sacrifice of his life, the way of the
Passion, the way of the Cross."
"At all times the Church is committed to be conformed to this logic and
to attest it to make the true Lordship of God shine, which is that of
love," the Pope said.
"It is precisely from this love that the Church was born," he affirmed,
"called to live and journey according to the commandment of the Lord,
in which is summarized all the law and the prophets."
"To be united to Christ in faith and in communion with him means to be
'rooted and grounded in love,' the fabric that unites all the members
of the Body of Christ," the Pontiff affirmed.
He acknowledged that "every ecclesial ministry is always a response to
a call of God; it is never the fruit of one's own plan or of one's
ambition, but it is to conform one's will to that of the Father who is
in Heaven," as Christ showed at Gethsemane.
"No one is boss in the Church," the Holy Father stated, "but all are
called, all are sent, all are gathered and guided by divine grace."
"And this is also our security," he added. "Only by listening again to
the word of Jesus, who asks 'come and follow me,' only by returning to
the original vocation is it possible to understand one's own presence
and mission in the Church as genuine disciples."