Christ's Suffering Shows God's Desire for Our Salvation, Pope Says

John Paul II's Meditation at Last General Audience Before Lent

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 18, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Christ's suffering and passion is a sign of God's great benevolence to human beings, John Paul II says.



Jesus "has adorned our soul and made it beautiful, desirable," he has made men and women adopted children of God, yet, even greater than this is the fact that it "came about through the blood of the Lord," the Pope said at today's general audience.

The Holy Father dedicated the last general audience before Lent to a meditation on St. Paul's canticle in Ephesians 1:3-10 which highlights the price God paid to save man.

"What are you lacking?" the Pontiff asked, quoting St. John Chrysostom, the fourth-century bishop of Constantinople and renowned preacher. "You have become immortal, free, a son, righteous, a brother, co-heir, with him you reign, with him you are glorified."

"What does this mean? It means that God passionately desires and ardently yearns for our salvation," John Paul II said.

"Nothing is greater than this: that the blood of God was poured out for us. Even greater than the adoption as sons and of the other gifts, is that not even the Son was spared," the Holy Father added.

It is "great that sins were remitted, but even greater is that this came about through the blood of the Lord," he concluded.

The Holy Father said he would touch on the canticle again in his series of meditations on the Liturgy of the Hours. The series can be consulted in the Wednesday's Audience section of ZENIT's Web page.