Sunday, November 21, 2010

Many Blessings on Raymond Cardinal Burke!

I've seen many stories, blog posts, etc. regarding this weekend's consistory wherein Cardinal Burke received the "red hat". That is all wonderful and I am certainly among those who is proud of this latest recognition for "one of our own". However, I want to share a few thoughts that go beyond "local pride" and the "we always knew" pronouncements. Cardinal Burke has gotten where he is because of deep faith, hard work, profound humility, and great fortitude.
Cardinal Burke didn't get to where he is by "making all the right political moves", or by knowing which winds to follow. He is not of the party of the left, nor of the right. Cardinal Burke belongs to the party of the Lamb.
One thought that came to mind over and over again, as the significance of the Cardinal's crimson vestments was explained, was that Raymond Burke, Fr. Burke, Bishop Burke, Archbishop Burke had already amply demonstrated his willingness to give himself completely to Christ and the service of His Church. In the many years I have known him, Cardinal Burke has always been about the glory of Jesus Christ and His Church. Because he, himself, believes so profoundly in the goodness, truth, and beauty of the Gospel, Cardinal
Burke has always sought to draw others to the same Jesus Christ who fills him so wonderfully.
Does this mean that his every move was perfect? That is for God to judge. However, Cardinal Newman's quote regarding the intention to serve well fits Cardinal Burke to a tee. At once it recognizes that mistakes may be made. It also recognizes that these can be forgiven and perfected as long as our intention is purely to do God's will as best as we can know it.
Cardinal Burke's fortitude has always been in inspiration to me. He knows what it is to which God calls us and never shrinks from proclaiming the truth in charity. In season and out of season, no matter the political consequences or the way the liberal press would portray it, he has always told the truth. He has always proclaimed the Gospel.
I have several times told people that it was easy, in some ways, to be a pastor under Cardinal Burke. There was no question about where he was and where he wanted you to be. Even when it seemed that everything was crashing down around me, I could follow his lead in confidence because not only did I know where he wanted me to be, but also why. Not just that, but it was always clear that what we are about is proclaiming the Gospel.
Cardinal Burke's humility is the gold standard. It is obvious to anyone who really knows him that he is a man of humility. He is not afraid to be critiqued. He does not need to be recognized nor has he ever been the kind of man who is looking for the next promotion. His moves were in response to obedience, not self promotion. His gaze is always on The Other, and others - not on himself.

Cardinal Burke has always been an inspiration to me. When I get the chance to see him in two weeks and I kiss his new red ring, that kiss will not only be a sign of great respect for a man that I love, but a witness to the inspiration he is for me to aspire to that same willingness to give myself completely to Christ with faith, hope, love, humility, and obedience.

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Comments are most welcome! As always, be charitable and remember the 8th Commandment (Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor).