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A Service of Unconditional Commitment: Archbishop of Madrid Reflects on Cardinal Status

Takes up challenge to live the joy of the Gospel

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Archbishop Carlos Osoro of Madrid prepared himself for Saturday’s consistory, where he was one of 17 new cardinals created by Pope Francis, by intensifying his prayer and especially by placing himself before the Lord  to see what He is asking of him through the Holy Father, and what interior willingness he has to accede with passion and also joy.
Just one month ago, the Pontiff announced who the next Cardinals would be. And, during these weeks, Archbishop Osorio has asked himself often what Jesus asked the sons of Zebedee: Can you drink the chalice that I will drink? And they answered yes. I wished to say to the Lord that, if he asked me for my life, I would be willing to give it, explained the new Cardinal to ZENIT.
To be appointed Cardinal, asserts the Archbishop of Madrid, implies “sincere gratitude to God” and “to the Holy Father for having called me to this mission close to him.” But it also implies “asking me for more coherence in my life and my ministry.” In other words, “to be truly a Pastor who looks after others, who forgets himself and has others be most important for him.” And by “others” he means all: “those who are within the life of the Church,” those who “have not known the Lord,” and “those who have known Him and rejected Him.
In regard to the challenges that he now faces, he points out those that the Pope indicated in Evangelii Gaudium. “To take the joy of the Gospel, because we don’t take something sad, we take a joy that is born from the encounter with the Lord, with a God who loves and permanently rehabilitates the human being.”
The Cardinal said he finds the strength for this mission in “the grace of God,” because “without Him I can do nothing.” In this connection, he said that in his life, “when the Lord has asked me things,” He has “also given me what I needed each moment when I was truly open.” There have also been moments when he met with an impasse, and in those moments he felt he lived from himself. “And to live from myself is bad for me, because it doesn’t give me horizons, but it also has repercussions on others, because I don’t give them anything,” confessed Archbishop Osorio.
However, “when I have been open to the Lord’s grace I have been able to do many things and I place myself thus in this moment of my life.” Therefore, he feels confident that the Lord “will give me what is needed at this moment to help in what the Holy Father asks of me and to continue working in the Archdiocese of Madrid,” he explained.
On the way this stage should be lived, the Archbishop of Madrid recalls what the Pope asked in the letter he sent to the new Cardinals: “be grateful to the people and to God” and “do not fall into worldliness.” The Cardinalate must lead us “to discover that this is a service of unconditional commitment” and thus <the people> “will identify us more with Jesus Christ” and we will “minimize what is more worldly.”
Finally, he asks all the faithful — priests, laymen, women religious and communities — to help him reach both the existential as well as the real “peripheries” in his Archbishopric. Persons who do great work and thanks to whom he feels “very helped.”

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Rocío Lancho García

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