Less than a year after this he received the ultimate honor by Pope John Paul II who named him a cardinal in the Consistory of June 28, 1991 with the titular church of St. Lucy in a Piazza d'Armi. He serves Curial membership on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Pontifical Council Council for the Family.
Zaire has been embroiled in internal strife between the Church and the anti-Christian government of President Mobutu who has advocated an "Africanization" platform that dismisses the European missionary influence brought to this land in the late fifteenth century. Throughout the history of this region there has been a strong anticlericalism that has curtailed conversions at times, but, like the early Christian martyrs, the Church has still flourished boasting over half of the population as Catholic. This is the fruits from the seeds of the martyred priests and religious following the bloody insurrection in 1960 in which many were killed. Add to this the Ebola outbreak in 1995 in which six missionary sisters contracted the disease and the takeover of the country two years ago by rebel forces after months of fierce, bitter struggles that were marked by tribal alliances in Zaire, Rwanda and Burundi. Many still consider the country Zaire but the new name is the Democratic Republic of Congo. That is another reason Cardinal Etsou-Nzabi-Bamungwabi wants to be there in the capital city as the people's shepherd. Like most cardinals, Cardinal Etsou-Nzabi-Bamungwabi is nearly seventy and doubtful he has the experience for papal possibilities because of age and limited global exposure. But that is fine with the people of Kinshasha who would be very content if one of their own stayed right where he is appreciated most - Zaire.
The world inflicts such pain to His most tender, compassionate Heart, the very Font of Divine Mercy. O! If all of my children would willingly drink from this Font and experience the profound love of God which is beyond human understanding. But the world rejects the Font of Mercy, and it revels in every manner of sin. The right Hand of God's Justice shall strike. No nation shall be spared. All will see chaos and confusion in their lives. Even those consecrated to the Sacred Heart of my Son and to my Immaculate Heart will suffer these crosses, for no one will be spared in the end times.
I solemnly tell you, dear children, that the Hour of Mercy longs to be poured out. Live as Divine Mercy, and learn from my Divine Son as He spoke to Blessed Faustina. I, the Mother of God, the Immaculate Conception, do solemnly tell you that in this time all those who seek only God's will shall be persecuted in every manner. But you must have great faith and fear nothing, for my Son is with you and I am with my Son.
Pray! Become living prayers and do not be anxious. Trust in God for everything. I love and bless you. Thank you for responding to my Call!
I ask you to tell all My children that My desire is to flood their souls with My Divine Mercy, and I am searching for little souls who will take My Mercy for the sake of the whole world, and suffer with My Passion for the salvation of countless souls.
My Mercy is without limit. I do not scorn anyone with humble and contrite heart. I open wide My arms. I seek to press each of you to My Sacred Heart, and to purify you in This, the Furnace and Font of Love and Mercy.
I give to you many signs and warnings. I seek only to bring you to union with Me, your Lord and God.
Why then do you doubt and fear? Why then do you prefer your worldly pleasures when I am All? Will you remain proud and hard of heart, allowing your human ego, which is fallible, to rule you? If you would have peace, cast off all judgments and silence your tongues. Come to Me in all things and together we will walk the road of sanctity. Come to Me and be healed that the Holy Spirit, the Divine Guest of your soul, may know the blossoming of your heart into a resplendent tabernacle.
In the eighth verse Jesus hits the nail on the head, so to speak when He says in John 12: 8 after admonishing Judas to leave the Magdalene alone, "For the poor you have always with you, but you do not always have Me." The impact of this sentence hits home that the greatest Treasure is there among them in the flesh in the person of the Son of God, Who prophesizes His burial and the Magdalene's role by indicating in the verse before that she should keep the rest to anoint His body which she indeed did and was one of the faithful, along with John, to follow Jesus all the way to the Cross and beyond to the Sepulchre. It was only fitting she was rewarded for her loyalty by being the first to see Jesus after He had risen.
This lesson should help us put things in perspective, to realize the greatest treasures are not here on earth, but only in Heaven will we attain unfathomable wealth when we behold the face of God. Our lifespan is but a drop of water compared to the ocean of Heavenly Eternity. That in itself should help us put our priorities in order. Do we put more importance on that tiny drop of water than the entire Infinite ocean? Judas did and we all know his fate. That should strongly remind us the path he sought was a dead-end. When we realize the insignificance of this lifespan in relationship with everlasting life with God it will better help us join Jesus on the path to Calvary. There on the Cross was the greatest ransom ever made and for it, Jesus released to us untold of treasures that are ours for the asking. All we need do is heed His Will and knock at the Door of His Sacred and Merciful Heart for the day's Responsorial Psalm says it all: "The Lord is my Light and my Salvation."
Incredulous, Peter truly believes this will never happen, but alas we all know it did. We also know Peter went on to become the Rock Jesus had intended in founding His One True, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. What was the difference between the two? Besides character, one asked for forgiveness and resolved to amend his ways just as the Good Thief Dismas also did as he was clinging to life on the cross with Christ; the other despaired, too proud to come in humility and ask to be reconciled. Judas' actions were also paralleled by the Bad Thief who hung there scorning Jesus and deriding Dismas.
How many times have we denied Christ? Oh, true, they were small, but they build up. As Catholics we have the saving grace of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. But we cannot abuse it. We can't feel it is a convenient outlet to just wipe away the same sins we intend to commit again. No, we must make a commitment to sin no more as the priest commands at the end of Confession. Sure, because we are human, we will sin again...but it is not a will to sin, but our weakness that we fall. The shame is in staying in sin, refusing to get up. There is no shame in falling and rising again, asking forgiveness. Jesus is always there to help us, just as He was there to forgive Peter He was there to forgive Judas, but the Iscariot did not respond. Will we respond when we fail? Will we come running to the Merciful Heart begging for Mercy? Our Lady assures us of being forgiven and begs us to go to Confession often, at least once a month and more if possible. The more we take advantage of this wonderful Sacrament, the more we realize the graces inherent and the protective shell we can build around our soul and lifestyle to keep satan out. Like Peter, we too, have been chosen. Like Peter, we too, have fallen and will fall again. Like Peter, we can rely on the Holy Spirit to instill the Gifts that will enable us to continue joyfully on the way to Calvary as we eagerly repeat the words of the Psalmist in today's Psalm 71: 3 - 4, "Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety, for You are my Rock and my Fortress. O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked."