VATICAN CITY, January 13, 2014 (Zenit.org) – Pope Francis wrote a letter to the cardinals designated yesterday in the course of the Angelus, who will be created in the consistory of February 22.
Here below is a translation of the Pope’s letter.
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On the day in which your designation is made public to be part of the College of Cardinals, I wish to express to you a cordial greeting together with the assurance of my closeness and my prayer. I hope that, as associate of the Church of Rome, clothed in the virtues and sentiments of the Lord Jesus (cf. Romans 13:14), you will be able to help me, with fraternal effectiveness, in my service to the universal Church.
The Cardinalate does not signify a promotion, or an honor, or a decoration. It is simply a service that calls for enlarging one’s vision and widening one’s heart. And, although it seems a paradox, this ability to look far ahead and to love more universally with greater intensity can only be acquired by following the same way of the Lord: the way of abasement and humility, taking the form of a servant (cf. Philippians 2;5-8). Therefore, I ask you, please, to receive this designation with a simple and humble heart. And, although you must do so with joy and gladness, do it in such a way that this sentiment is far from any expression of worldliness, from any celebration that is foreign to the evangelical spirit of austerity, sobriety and poverty.
Farewell, then, until next February 20, in which we will begin two days of reflection on the family. I remain at your disposition and, please, I ask you to pray and to have others pray for me.
May Jesus bless you and the Holy Virgin protect you.