Cardinal Bertone: God Is "Father, Infinitely Father"

Celebrates Mass at Fatima Shrine After Pope Prays Rosary

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FATIMA, Portugal, MAY 12, 2010 ( Benedict XVI’s secretary of state reflected on a «serious commitment to the spiritual life» today at the Fatima Shrine, as he celebrated a vigil Mass for Thursday’s feast of Our Lady, as she is remembered for her apparitions in Portugal.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone celebrated the Mass following a rosary led by the Pope in Latin and a candlelight pilgrimage.

The secretary of state reflected on the importance of humility.

«In order to enter the kingdom, we must become humble, ever humbler and smaller, as small as possible: this is the secret of the mystical life,» he said. «A serious commitment to the spiritual life begins when a person makes an authentic act of humility, moving away from the difficult position of one who always considers himself the center of the universe so as to abandon oneself into the arms of the mystery of God, with the heart of a child.»

In those arms, the cardinal reflected, «not only is there power, knowledge and majesty, but also infancy, innocence, infinite tenderness, because he is Father, infinitely Father.»

Cardinal Bertone noted how this understanding of God was not known before Christ.

We could not have known it before, he said; «it was only when he sent his Son to us that we were able to discover it.»

«The Son became a child and so he could tell us to become children ourselves in order to enter his kingdom,» the cardinal continued. «He, the God of infinite grandeur, became so small and humble before us that only the eyes of faith, only the eyes of the simple are able to recognize him.»

Christ’s becoming a child «called into question the natural instinct of self-assertion that dominates us,» he stated. «‘Become like God.’ Very well, then! God appeared on earth as a child. Now we know what God is like: he is a child.»

The secretary of state noted how the «‘wisdom of the world» exalts personal success, and seeks it at any cost, even if persons come to be seen as mere obstacles.

«This is what people call life,» he said, «but the trail of death that it leaves behind immediately contradicts them. […] Only someone who loves his brother possesses in himself eternal life, that is to say, the presence of God, who, through the Spirit, communicates his love to the believer, making him a sharer in the mystery of the life of the Blessed Trinity.»

Jesus the emigrant

Cardinal Bertone affirmed that Christ brought something of heaven with him to earth.

He said: «Just as an emigré to a foreign country, even if he adapts well to the new situation, preserves — at least in his heart — the laws and customs of his people, so too when Jesus came on earth, he brought with him, as a pilgrim of the Blessed Trinity, the manner of life of his heavenly homeland which ‘expresses humanly the divine ways of the Trinity.'»

In baptism, the cardinal continued, we renounce the world’s «wisdom» to take on this «wisdom from above.»

Jesus manifested this wisdom, the secretary of state affirmed, he who is the «matchless Teacher of the art of loving. To lay down one’s life for one’s brother is the highest form of love, said Jesus; he both said it and did it, commanding us to love as he did.»

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