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Wednesday, May 18, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 18 MAY 2011 (VIS) - After having visited the theme of prayer as a universal phenomenon in the past two Wednesday catecheses, today the Pope began a new Biblical reflection on a theme "that will guide us to deepen the dialogue of covenant between God and humanity that animates the history of salvation until its fullness ... in Christ".

  Addressing the pilgrims present in this Wednesday's general audience in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI explained that "Abraham, the great patriarch, father of all believers", offers us the first example of a prayer of intercession when God told him of His plan to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, "because of the wickedness of its inhabitants".

  The Patriarch, the Pope said, "did not limit himself to asking for the salvation of the innocent but also implored forgiveness for the entire city, appealing to God's justice", a divine justice that "seeks the good and creates it by means of a forgiveness that transforms the sinners, converting and saving them".

  "Abraham's thought, that seems almost paradoxical, can be summarized thus: of course the innocent cannot be treated like the guilty, that would be unjust; instead the guilty need to be treated as the innocent, applying a 'higher' justice, offering them the possibility of salvation because, if the evildoers accept God's forgiveness and confess their blame, letting themselves be saved, they will not continue doing evil but will also become just, no longer needing to be punished".

  Emphasizing that "forgiveness breaks the spiral of sin", the Pope noted that "Abraham, in his dialogue with God, asks exactly for that ... through his intercession, his prayer to God for the salvation of the others, he demonstrates and expresses the desire for salvation that God always nurtures for the sinner. Evil cannot be accepted. It must be pointed out and destroyed through punishment. the destruction of Sodom had precisely this function. The Lord, however, did not wish the death of the wicked but that they convert and live: His desire is always to forgive, to save, to give life, and to transform evil into good".

  The Pope stressed that "a transformation from within is necessary, a pretext for good, a beginning of what sets in motion the transformation from evil into good, hatred into love, and vengeance into forgiveness".

  "However, God's mercy in the history of His people extends even further. ... The infinite and surprising love of God will be made fully manifest when the Son of God becomes man, the definitive Just One, the perfect Innocent who will bring salvation to the entire world with His death on the cross, forgiving and interceding for those who 'know not what they do'. Then, each person's daily prayer will find its answer, then all our intercessions will be fully granted".

  Benedict XVI ended by asking that "the prayer of Abraham, our father in the faith, teach us to open our hearts more and more to God's overabundant mercy, so that in our daily prayer we might know how to desire the salvation of humanity and to ask for it with perseverance and with confidence in the Lord who is great in love".
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1 comment:

  1. This is a stupendous reality of prayer - for all to be saved, for all to be one.
    Jesus' own prayer during his time one earth. Also His prayer which He gave us - "Our Father".


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