CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 21, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of John Paul II’s address at today’s general audience, held at the papal summer residence. The address was given in Italian.
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1. My thoughts turn today to the eighth trip to the land of my birth, which Divine Providence enabled me to carry out happily in the past days.
I renew my expression of gratitude to the president of the Republic of Poland, to the Prime Minister, to the national civil and military authorities of every order and rank, as well as to those of the city of Krakow, for having ensured the serene course of my visit. My cordial thoughts are then addressed to the primate, Cardinal Jozef Glemp, to the archbishop of Krakow, Cardinal Franciszek Macharski, to the entire episcopate, to the priests, the consecrated, and all those who prepared this important ecclesial event, and participated in it with faith and devotion.
Above all, I wish to send my warmest gratitude to my beloved compatriots, who received me in such great numbers with overwhelming affection and intense participation. The visit touched only one diocese, but in spirit I embraced the whole of Poland, which I encourage to continue in its effort to build authentic social progress, without ever neglecting to safeguard its own Christian identity.
2. “God, rich in mercy” (Ephesians 2:4). These words resounded often during my apostolic pilgrimage. Indeed, the main purpose of the visit was, precisely, to proclaim once again that God is “rich in mercy,” especially through the consecration of the new Shrine of Divine Mercy in Lagiewniki. The new church will be a center of worldwide radiation of the fire of the mercy of God, according to what the Lord wished to manifest to St. Faustina Kowalska, apostle of Divine Mercy.
“Jesus, I trust in you!” This is the simple prayer that Sister Faustina has taught us and which we can have on our lips in every instance of our life. How many times, as laborer and student and, then, as priest and bishop, in difficult periods of the history of Poland, I also repeated this simple and profound invocation, experiencing its efficacy and force.
Mercy is one of the most beautiful attributes of the Creator and of the Redeemer, and the Church exists to bring men to this inexhaustible source, of which she is the depository and dispenser. This is why I wished to entrust my homeland, the Church, and the whole of humanity to the Divine Mercy.
3. The merciful love of God opens the heart to concrete acts of charity toward one’s neighbor. This was true for Archbishop Zygmunt Szczesny Felinski, Father Jan Beyzym, Sister Sancja Szymkowiak, and Don Jan Balicki, whom I had the joy of proclaiming blessed during the Mass celebrated in Blonie Park in Krakow last Sunday.
I wished to hold up to the Christian people these new blessed, so that their example and their words will be a stimulus and encouragement to testify with deeds to the merciful love of the Lord, who conquers evil with good (see Romans 12:21). Only in this way is it possible to build the longed-for civilization of love, whose gentle force is in vigorous contrast to the “mysterium iniquitatis” present in the world. To us, disciples of Christ, is given the task to proclaim and live the lofty mystery of the Divine Mercy that regenerates the world, impelling us to love our brothers and even our enemies. These blessed, together with the other saints, are brilliant examples of how the “creativity in charity,” of which I spoke in the apostolic letter “Novo Millennio Ineunte,” makes us be close to and in solidarity with all those who suffer (see No. 50), architects of a world renewed by love.
4. My pilgrimage then led me to Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, to commemorate the 400 years of the shrine dedicated to the passion of Jesus and Our Lady of Sorrows. I have been linked to that holy place since my childhood. Many times I have experienced how the Mother of God, Lady of Graces, turns her merciful eyes to afflicted man, in need of her wisdom and help.
After Czestochowa, it is one of the most known and frequented shrines in the whole of Poland, to which faithful of neighboring countries also go. After having completed the ways of the Via Crucis and of the Compassion of the Mother of God, pilgrims remain before the ancient and miraculous image of Mary our Advocate, who receives them with eyes filled with love. Next to her, one can perceive and penetrate the mysterious bond between the “suffering” Redeemer on Calvary and his “co-suffering” Mother at the foot of the cross. In this communion of love in suffering it is easy to see the source of the power of intercession that the prayer of the Virgin has for us, her children.
Let us ask Our Lady to light the spark of the grace of God in hearts, helping us to transmit to the world the fire of the Divine Mercy. May Mary obtain for all the gift of unity and peace: unity of faith, unity of spirit and thought, unity of families; peace of hearts, peace of nations and of the world, while awaiting the glorious return of Christ.
[Translation by ZENIT]
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[At the end of the audience, the Pope gave this summary in English]
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
My recent pastoral visit to Poland proclaimed that God is indeed “rich in mercy” (Ephesians 2:4). In Lagiewniki I consecrated the new Shrine of Divine Mercy, and prayed that from it the fire of God’s mercy would go out to our world. In Blonie Park I beatified four Christians who were living witnesses to the merciful love of Jesus. At Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, I recalled the loving compassion uniting Mary to the redemptive sufferings of her Divine Son. Through Mary’s prayers, may the message of God s infinite mercy bring unity and peace to our world, and lead all people to put their trust in Jesus.
I am pleased to welcome the Irish pilgrims from the Diocese of Killaloe. My greeting also goes to the visitors from the Bunri Satoh Educational Institute in Saitama, Japan. Upon all the English-speaking visitors present at today’s audience, especially those from England, Ireland, Japan and Indonesia, I cordially invoke God’s blessings of grace and peace.