God Is Attracted to Lost Souls, Says Pontiff

Encourages Practice of Mercy Toward Others

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 31, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is affirming that God wants to save all souls, and is especially attracted to those that are lost.

The Pope stated this today in an address before praying the midday Angelus together with those gathered in St. Peter's Square.

"God excludes no one, neither the poor nor the rich," he said.

The Pontiff continued, "God does not let himself be conditioned by our human prejudices, but sees in everyone a soul to save and is especially attracted to those who are judged as lost and who think themselves so."

"Jesus Christ, the incarnation of God, has demonstrated this immense mercy, which takes nothing away from the gravity of sin, but aims always at saving the sinner, at offering him the possibility of redemption, of starting over from the beginning, of converting," the Holy Father affirmed.

Speaking about the Gospel story of Zacchaeus, Benedict XVI noted the example of God's mercy.

"When Jesus was passing through Jericho and stopped at the house of Zacchaeus, he caused a major scandal," the Pope said. "The Lord, however, knew exactly what he was doing."

"He wanted, so to speak, to gamble, and he won the bet: Zacchaeus, deeply moved by Jesus' visit, decides to change his life, and promises to restore four times what he had stolen," the Pontiff recalled.

Jesus "did not condemn him but he met his desire for salvation," the Holy Father concluded. "Let us pray to the Virgin Mary, perfect model of communion with Jesus, to be renewed by his love, and to show his mercy to others."

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Full text: http://zenit.org/article-30810?l=english