At Mass on Wednesday evening in Fatima, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone spoke about the importance of being like children, humble and simple in our approach to the faith, in order to enter into the kingdom of Heaven. Fatima, he said, reminds us that this kingdom is at hand.
The Vatican Secretary of State presided over the Vigil Mass at the Marian shrine of Fatima, in Portugal on Wednesday evening. The traditional Eucharistic celebration on the eve of the Solemnity of Our Lady of Fatima, followed an earlier address by the Pope to the thousands of candle-bearing pilgrims there to join him in praying the Rosary.
Being like children, living our faith humbly and simply, said the cardinal during his homily, is "the wisdom from above," which contrasts with "the 'wisdom' of the world."
That of the world "exalts personal success and seeks it at any cost, eliminating without scruples those who are considered an obstacle to one's own supremacy. This is what people call life," he observed, "but the trail of death that it leaves behind immediately contradicts them."
The secretary of state spoke of the need to selflessly love as Jesus did, laying down our lives for our brothers. "Passing from life as 'possession' to life as 'gift,'" he related, "is the great challenge that reveals - to ourselves and to others - who we are and who we want to be."
Cardinal Bertone explained that the invitation of the Shrine today is to share the joy of this love "like Jacinta," one of the seers of Fatima who was beatified ten years ago along with her brother Francisco.
Noting the spiritual accomplishments of the shepherd-children, whom he called "two mature fruits of the tree of our Savior's Cross," he urged all people to accept Jesus' challenge: "Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven."
He stressed to the pilgrims at Mass to "make sure that heaven is always the horizon of your lives!
"People have tried to tell you that heaven can wait, but they have been deceiving you," he said.
For two thousand years, the Son of God has been telling us to "repent and believe in the Gospel" as the Kingdom of God is at hand, and Fatima, the cardinal emphasized, "reminds us that Heaven cannot wait!"
Cardinal Bertone finished his homily by praying that Mary "teach us how to offer Heaven to earth," by showing Christians how to believe, worship, hope and love with her. May Mary "show us the way towards the kingdom of Jesus, the ways of spiritual childhood," he said.