God's Love and Mercy Guaranteed, Says Preacher

At Papal Spiritual Exercises

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 9, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The cardinal preaching at the retreat attended by the Pope this week says that "our only guarantee is the love of the Father and the mercy of Jesus."



That is how Cardinal Marco Cé concluded a meditation delivered in a chapel in the Apostolic Palace this morning. The retired patriarch of Venice is preaching the spiritual exercises that are also being attended by members of the Roman Curia.

"Jesus asks us to trust unconditionally in his infinite mercy," added the cardinal, according to a report on Vatican Radio.

The three Gospel passages the patriarch used in his meditations this morning were Jesus' transfiguration, and the healings of the epileptic child and the blind beggar near Jericho.

The Transfiguration reveals "the intrinsic unity between the cross and glory," a relationship that the disciples had not understood, noted the preacher.

On Mount Tabor "the glorious reality of his person and of his relationship with the Father appeared. It was an anticipation of the Resurrection," he explained, commenting on Mark 9:1-9.

The presence of Moses and Elias with the Father indicated that in Jesus all the promises of the Old Covenant are fulfilled, Cardinal Cé said.

On the other hand, people were awaiting a powerful and glorious Messiah, who would liberate Israel from Roman oppression. Jesus shows that "the Father's plan is very different," said the preacher.

Trust

Speaking of the epileptic child, the patriarch recalled that the disciples were unable to free the child from his evil and that Christ acted in response to the father's faith: "Jesus asks us to trust unconditionally in his infinite mercy."

"Faithless generation," lamented Jesus addressing the disciples who were prey to the worldly conception of messianism. Christ explained to them that evil can only be expelled with prayer, confirming "the absolute primacy of divine action."

Cardinal Cé commented on the blind beggar from Jericho, in whose case faith was also decisive in recovering his sight. The blind man heard the Lord's arrival -- "faith comes from hearing" -- and his most profound desire was to see Jesus, the preacher said.

This is a very important lesson for today, said Cardinal Cé: "Faith is not only, or above all, information; faith is self-giving; it is communion with Jesus who gives himself.

"Let us ask the Lord for the grace to cure our blindness. Let us ask him to give us the truth, the only one that makes us truly free, and, at the same time, let us ask for the strength to make it concrete in our lives, following him on the path that leads to Jerusalem, certain that glory is already in the cross."

The cardinal added: "Spiritual exercises are a way to renew our baptismal faith. The object of Lent is to believe in Jesus, opening our life wide to him."

The papal spiritual exercises will end Saturday morning.