Benedict XVI Underlines God's Mercy

Encourages Contemplation of the Father’s Heart

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 14, 2010 ( Benedict XVI is explaining how Jesus reveals God as a Father of mercy, who continues to love and pursue us even when we rebel or relate to him immaturely.

The Pope stated this today in a public address before he prayed the midday Angelus with the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

Speaking about today’s Gospel reading about the parable of the prodigal son, the Pontiff noted, «What would our culture, art, and more generally, our civilization be without this revelation of a God who is a Father full of mercy?»

«This evangelical text has the power to speak to us of God, to make us know his face, better yet, his heart,» he said.

«After Jesus has told us about the merciful Father, things are not as they were before,» Benedict XVI pointed out. «Now we know God: He is our Father, who out of love created us free and endowed with conscience, who suffers when we are lost and celebrates when we return.»

«God does not dispense with his fidelity and, even if we distance ourselves from him and are lost, he continues to follow us with his love, forgiving our mistakes and speaking within us to our conscience to recall us to himself,» the Pope affirmed.

He highlighted the «opposite ways» in which the two sons of the parable behave toward their father, representing «two immature ways to relate to God: rebellion and infantile obedience.»

Both of these ways of behaving «are overcome by the experience of mercy,» the Pontiff stated.

He explained, «Only through experiencing forgiveness, recognizing ourselves as loved by a gratuitous love — that is greater than our misery, but also greater than our justice — we finally enter into a truly filial and free relationship with God.»

The Holy Father concluded by inviting his listeners: «Let us see ourselves in the two sons, and above all let us contemplate the heart of the Father. Let us throw ourselves into his arms and let ourselves be regenerated by his merciful love.»

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