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from issue no. 03 - 2007

A simple and humble laborer in the vineyard of the Lord

by Cardinal Franc Rodé CM

«After the great Pope John Paul II, the Lord Cardinals have elected me, a simple and humble laborer in the vineyard of the Lord».
Those were the first words that His Holiness Benedict XVI spoke on 19 April two years ago, immediately after his election as Peter’s successor: the first, clear image of this Pontiff whom we have learned to know and love; an image that the Holy Father knows how to confirm in words, in his manners, with the calm attitude and the steadfast sweetness of one who is aware that he has received from Christ the task of confirming his brethren in the faith.
Simplicity, modesty, discretion, respect for the human being – of all the human being and of all of mankind – as his predecessor Paul VI of blessed memory was accustomed to say. These are some of the characteristic features of this Pope, transparent in his humility, a man sine dolo, without falsehood (cf. John 1, 47).
His thinking, clear and coherent, speaks to the men and women of our time, without compromise and without fear. The clarity, beauty and depth of his language know how to speak to the heart because they speak words of joy, of freedom, beauty, fullness of life, of love without limit, without constraint, without disguise. During a discussion it came to me to say that, hearing him speak, I was reminded by his affinity of thought and style of the great Italo-German theologian Romano Guardini. He was pleased with the comparison.
On his eightieth birthday I am happy to pass on once again my good wishes and those of the Congregation of the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life which I lead – on his behalf – an echo of the wish and prayers of millions of consecrated men and women who spend their lives each day for Christ and the Gospel, to the farthest bounds of the earth.
Good wishes that are the prayer I make each day, with all the members of the Department, when we come together at noon for the Angelus, so that the Lord conservet eum, et vivificet.

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