Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI 

Cardinal Cupich: Benedict XVI an outstanding 'witness of humility'

Speaking at a Memorial Mass in Chicago, Cardinal Blase Cupich highlights the humility of the late Pope Emeritus as a distinctive feature of his personality, as well as his deep love for Jesus testified until the last moments of his life.

By Lisa Zengarini

Cardinal Blase Cupich celebrated a special Mass in memory of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on Monday.

In his homily, the Archbishop of Chicago focused on the late Pontiff’s humility, describing him as a “brilliant mind” who “made witnessing to the Gospel’s call to-live-in-humble-service-to-all his priority.”

He remarked that he offered that witness of humility in three ways: “through his dedication to scholarship, his unwavering conviction that belonging to a community defines our lives, and his radical dependence on the person of Jesus Christ.”

A humble scholar

Cardinal Cupich noted that humility is a quality often overlooked in people who dedicate their lives to scholarship.

However, it is this very humility that allows “your mind to be formed, not by your own musings and opinions, but by others as you interact and dialogue with them.”

The late Pope Emeritus testified to this in his academic life, as he confirmed in his spiritual testament, where among other things he warmly thanks God for the teachers and pupils He had given to him.

“Joseph Ratzinger, the great theologian, was that humble scribe instructed in the kingdom of heaven, we read about in the Gospel, who “like the head of a household (brought) from (the) storeroom both the new and the old.”

Humility of living in community

Cardinal Cupich further highlighted his “humility of living in community” which, he noted, he had learnt from his loving family, as he pointed out in his spiritual testament.

“Through this family experience, he acquired a humility that became second nature to him, leaving him with the palpable sense of being connected with others.”

“It is no wonder then,” said Cardinal Cupich, “that when he called the Church to take up works of charity in his first Encyclical Deus Caritas Est he reminded us that ‘Love needs to be organized’. “These words have their root in all that he learned at home, that for love to be authentic it must connect us to one another, make demands on us but also comfort us as we discover an interdependence that binds us together.”

Deep love for Jesus

Most importantly, Benedict XVI offered his witness of humility in his deep relationship with Jesus.

“With his keen intelligence,” noted Cardinal Cupich, “Joseph Ratzinger could have remained comfortable in the world of ideas and theories, but he made himself vulnerable to the point that his encounter with Jesus, rather than the safe world of ideas, gave decisive direction to his life.”

“He humbled himself to enter into a trusting relationship, to relate to Jesus not as a lofty idea or an ethical choice but as a person who remained close to Him.”

“This profound sense of being ever close to the Lord," he further pointed out, "marked his life to the end”, as testified by the last words he uttered before dying : “Jesus, I love you”.

“May the promise of the Gospel that ‘whoever humbles himself will be exalted’ be fulfilled in him”, the Cardinal concluded. May he rest in peace knowing of our gratitude and prayers for him.”

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03 January 2023, 14:53