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Tuesday, April 20, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 20 APR 2010 (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI delivered the eulogy at the end of the funeral of Cardinal Tomas Spidlik S.J., who died on 16 April at the age of 90. The funeral Mass was celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals.

  "The will of Jesus coincides with the will of God the Father and, along with the action of the Holy Spirit, represents a kind of secure, strong and sweet 'embrace' of man, leading him to eternal life", said the Pope.

  "I believe that the great men of faith live immersed in this grace, that they have the gift of perceiving this truth particularly clearly, and that they can thus undergo harsh trials, just as Fr. Tomas Spidlik did, without losing their trust; rather, they retain a sense of humour, which is certainly a sign of intelligence but also of inner freedom".

  Benedict XVI went on: "In this context, there was an evident resemblance between the late cardinal and the Venerable John Paul II: both were wont to make jokes though having suffered difficult, and in some ways similar, personal circumstances in their youth. Providence led them to meet and work together for the good of the Church, with the particular aim that she might learn to breathe fully 'with both her lungs', as the Slavic Pope liked to say.

  "This free and ready spirit had its objective foundation in the Resurrection of Christ", the Holy Father added. "The hope and joy of the risen Jesus are also the hope and joy of His friends, thanks to the action of the Holy Spirit. Fr. Spidlik demonstrated this regularly in the way he lived, and his witness became ever more eloquent with the passing of the years because, despite his advanced age and inevitable health problems, his spirit remained fresh and youthful. What is this, if not friendship with the risen Lord?"

  In choosing "ex toto corde" (with all my heart) as his motto, the cardinal placed "his life within the commandment to love, inscribing his entire existence in the primacy of love and of charity". The words "phos" and "zoe" (light and life) on the cardinal's coat-of-arms "are names of God", the Pope explained. "Thus the man who fully 'ex toto corde' accepts the love of God, accepts light and life, and becomes in his turn light and life in humankind and in the universe".

  Benedict XVI concluded his eulogy by recalling Cardinal Spidlik's membership of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). "In other words", he said, "he was a spiritual son of St. Ignatius who placed the contemplation of God in the mystery of Christ at the centre of faith and spirituality. In this symbol of the heart, East and West come together, not in a devotional but in a profoundly Christological sense".
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