God's Criteria of Greatness Is Service, Says Pope

Notes Christ's Example as Basis of New Relationships

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 22, 2010 (Zenit.org).- In God's eyes, greatness is not measured by a level of dominion, but rather the way a person serves, says Benedict XVI.



The Pope stated this Saturday in his homily during the consistory in which 24 new cardinals were created.

He reminded the cardinals that Jesus tells his disciples, "Whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be the slave of all."

"The criterion of greatness and primacy according to God is not dominion but service," the Pontiff stated.

He pointed to Jesus, who "also indicates the point of reference: the Son of Man, who came to serve, summarizes his mission under the category of service, understood not in the generic sense, but in the concrete way of the Cross, of the total gift of life as 'ransom,' as redemption for many, and he indicates it as condition to follow him."

"It is a message that is true for the Apostles, for the whole Church, true above all for those who have tasks to guide the people of God," the Holy Father said.

"It is not the logic of dominion, of power according to human criteria," he added, "but the logic of bending down to wash the feet, the logic of service, the logic of the Cross, which is at the bottom of all exercise of authority."

Benedict XVI observed that Christ's "style of life becomes the basis of new relationships within the Christian community and a new way of exercising authority."

Way of the Cross

He continued, "Jesus is on the way to Jerusalem and proclaims for the third time, indicating to his disciples the way by which he intends to fulfill the work entrusted to him by the Father: It is the way of the humble gift of self to the sacrifice of his life, the way of the Passion, the way of the Cross."

"At all times the Church is committed to be conformed to this logic and to attest it to make the true Lordship of God shine, which is that of love," the Pope said.

"It is precisely from this love that the Church was born," he affirmed, "called to live and journey according to the commandment of the Lord, in which is summarized all the law and the prophets."

"To be united to Christ in faith and in communion with him means to be 'rooted and grounded in love,' the fabric that unites all the members of the Body of Christ," the Pontiff affirmed.

He acknowledged that "every ecclesial ministry is always a response to a call of God; it is never the fruit of one's own plan or of one's ambition, but it is to conform one's will to that of the Father who is in Heaven," as Christ showed at Gethsemane.

"No one is boss in the Church," the Holy Father stated, "but all are called, all are sent, all are gathered and guided by divine grace."

"And this is also our security," he added. "Only by listening again to the word of Jesus, who asks 'come and follow me,' only by returning to the original vocation is it possible to understand one's own presence and mission in the Church as genuine disciples."

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-31039?l=english