LETTER OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO THOSE WHO WILL BE CREATED CARDINALS
AT THE UPCOMING CONSISTORY OF 14 FEBRUARY 2015
Today your nomination as Cardinal of Holy Roman Church was made public. I send you my greetings along with an assurance of my prayers. I ask the Lord to accompany you in this new service, which is a service of help, support and special closeness to the person of the Pope and for the good of the Church.
The cardinalate is indeed a vocation, precisely ordered to the exercise of this dimension of service. The Lord, through the Church, calls you yet again to serve; and it will do you good to repeat in prayer the expression that Jesus himself suggested to his disciples in order to remain humble: “Say, ‘We are unworthy servants’”, and this, not as a formula of good upbringing but truthful after your work, “when you have done all that is commanded you” (Lk 17:10).
Keeping oneself humble in service is not easy if one views the cardinalate as an award, like the culmination of a career, a dignity of power or of superior distinction. Hence, your daily commitment to warding off these considerations, and especially in order to remember that being a Cardinal signifies being incardinated in the Diocese of Rome in order to bear witness to the Resurrection of the Lord totally, even to pouring out your blood if necessary.
Many will rejoice at your new vocation and, as good Christians, they will celebrate it (indeed it is proper for a Christian to rejoice and to know how to celebrate). Accept it with humility. Only, do it in a way that, during these celebrations, the spirit of worldliness does not creep in, the spirit that confuses more than grappa when fasting, disorienting and separating one from the Cross of Christ. We will see each other, then, on 14 February. Prepare yourself with prayer and a little penance. May you experience great peace and joy. And, please, I ask you not to forget to pray for me.
May Jesus bless you and the Holy Virgin protect you.
From the Vatican, 4 January 2015
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