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Lecture by Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz

5/2/2006 - 6:15 AM PST

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"No Source of Hope Other Than Divine Mercy"

LOS ANGELES, MAY 2, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is an excerpt from a lecture prepared by Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, of the Archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow, for a conference on Divine Mercy.

The Lay Institute of Divine Mercy was the host for the 2006 Southern California Divine Mercy Congress "Divine Mercy, Transform Us to Be Your Vessel of Hope" at Christ the King Parish in Los Angeles. The three-day conference ended Sunday.

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Towards a World -- Transforming Hope in Divine Mercy

The Holy Spirit introduces us to the essence of Divine Mercy. He is the Comforting Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, who, already for 2,000 years has led the Church through the stormy ocean of time with its problems and challenges, and who indicates to us Divine Mercy and its meaning. In the modern day, when man has lost the sense of sin, the Holy Spirit convinces the world of sin (cf. John 16:8), and at the same time reveals the meaning of salvation in Jesus Christ, salvation accomplished through the mystery of the cross and resurrection.

The Holy Spirit through the mystery of the cross of the Lord allows us to know sin in the full measure of the evil which it carries within itself. What more eloquently witnesses to this fact than that man was redeemed at the price of the passion and death of the Son of God. Precisely in the mystery of the cross does the Holy Spirit call us to uncover the merciful and forgiving love of God ("Dominum et Vivificantem," No. 32).

This "convincing," worked by the Holy Spirit, with respect to our sinfulness and the evil brought by sin, is at the same time a "persuading" that sin can be forgiven. That is, it turns out to be a conviction about Divine Mercy, thanks to which man can once again attain the dignity of a son of God.

In his first encyclical letter, "Deus Caritas Est," Pope Benedict XVI teaches that the death of Christ on the cross is a work of God directed in a certain sense against himself, insofar as God is offering himself as the Victim which will save man. This is nothing other than love in its most radical form. The pierced side of Christ allows us to contemplate the truth that "God is love" (1 John 4:8). Likewise, it indicates wherein true love lies. In the very pierced side of Jesus, Christians can find the way to live and to love (cf. "Deus Caritas Est," No. 12).

Thus, the essence of Divine Mercy is the infinite love of the Heart of Jesus for man, love which extends to the shedding of blood. Christ himself speaks beautifully of this: "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).

Speaking of Divine Mercy and its essence brings us before the mystery of -- on one hand -- the always faithful God and -- on the other -- unfaithful man. In this mystery the characteristics of the ever Merciful God stand out in a striking manner. Like the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son, he receives his son with open arms and rejoices that he, who was lost, has returned, that he, who was spiritually dead, has, thanks to the grace of Divine Mercy, returned to life (cf. Luke 15:11-32).

This parable expresses the reality of conversion in the deepest fashion. This is the most concrete expression of the presence of Divine Mercy in the world: love overcoming sin. John Paul II in his encyclical "Dives in Misericordia" emphasizes that mercy does not consist in even the most sympathetic attitude toward moral, physical and material evil. Rather, it consists in the recognition and eliciting of good out of every sort of accumulation of evil, which can exist in man and the world. In this very sense of mercy can the fundamental content of the messianic sending of Jesus Christ and the power of his mission be seen (cf. "Dives in Misericordia," No. 6).

In his sermon before the beginning of the conclave on April 18, 2005, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said that the mercy of Christ does not imply the banalization of evil. Christ carried in his body and soul all of the weight and power of evil. He destroyed and transformed evil by suffering, through the fire of suffering love. In this way, in the paschal mystery, in Christ's dying and rising from the dead, the Day of Vengeance and the year of the Lord's favor meet (cf. Isaiah 61:2).

Since Divine Mercy, an attribute of God, issues forth from the infinite love of God for man, it must be said to have no limit. The only force capable of limiting it is man himself, by a lack of good will and readiness to convert. Not in vain does Pope Benedict XVI, in the encyclical "Deus Caritas Est," cite the words of the Apostle John: "God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God and God abides in him" (1 John 4:16).

The Pope comments that these words express the essence of Christian faith, that is, the Christian conception of ...

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