By Kevin Kelly
Catholic Key Associate Editor
KANSAS CITY — Life is love, and God is the source, Cardinal Raymond Burke told a packed congregation at a July 24 Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
Former archbishop of St. Louis and now prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura in the Vatican, Cardinal Burke was in the Kansas City metropolitan area to speak at a July 23 conference at the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas’ Savior Pastoral Center on care and treatment of the disabled and dying.
Celebrating the July 24 Mass in the cathedral of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph with Bishop Robert W. Finn and Kansas City, Kan., Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Cardinal Burke said close communion with the source of all love and life is the most important part of human existence.
“Nothing can be more important to us,” he said. “Nothing in our lives can be good except to the degree that it serves the communion with Christ in our lives.”
Everything in life must spring from “recognizing the great gift of God’s immeasurable and ceasless love.”
“That is the mystery of faith,” the cardinal said. “We order everything in our lives to respond to the incomparable treasure that is God’s love. We wisely sacrifice everything else in our lives.”
Drawing upon the day’s Old Testament reading, Cardinal Burke said that King Solomon asked for a heart that could judge right from wrong.
“Solomon recognized that no other gift could be of lasting good if his heart wasn’t in communion with the divine heart,” Cardinal Burke said.
“We are the only earthly creatures that God created in his own image and likeness,” the cardinal said. “What can be more important than the gift of God’s love that destines us for eternal life with him? How can we fail to consider every aspect of our daily living in the context of the mystery of faith?”
But the ways of the secular world are seductive, he said.
“How easily are we beguiled by the secular culture in which we live, as if we are our own creators and saviors,” he said. “We then become agents of violence and death which are the marks of a secular and atheistic culture.”
Cardinal Burke offered the example of St. Gianna Molla, the Italian woman canonized in 2004 who refused a hysterectomy in 1961 that would have certainly saved her life in order to carry the child she was bearing to term. That child, Gianna Emanuela Molla, also spoke at the Kansas City, Kan., conference as well as at the end of the July 24 Mass.
St. Gianna was also a physician who knew suffering and dying well, Cardinal Burke said, but also knew the triumph of God’s love over death.
“She became heroic in her care of the suffering and dying,” he said.
Likewise, Jesus himself used his own suffering and death to redeem all humanity, the cardinal said.
“Christ himself transformed our suffering and dying into the final passage from earthly existence to eternal life,” Cardinal Burke said.
But a secularized society apart from Christ views suffering and dying as “wholly useless and meaningless,” the cardinal said.
Christ’s church sees it as a “treasure.”
“Even as the crucified body of Christ is the greatest treasure of the church, so also those who are sick and suffering are to be treasured by all in the church and are a great blessing to all,” Cardinal Burke said.
“Let the great treasure of our lives be the love of Christ flowing immeasurably and unceasingly from this Sacred Heart,” he said.
In her remarks at the end of Mass, Gianna Emanuela Molla told the congregation as she told her audience the day before that she would not be alive except for the extraordinary love of her mother for her unborn child, even to death.
“There must be many mothers in paradise,” she said.