God's Forgiveness Can Change Hearts, Says John Paul II

Reflects on a Canticle From Book of Ezekiel

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VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 10, 2003 (Zenit.org).- God's forgiveness can transform the "stony heart" of every human being into a natural heart, says John Paul II.



This was a key part of the Pope's message today when he addressed 11,000 pilgrims at the general audience in St. Peter's Square. He was reflecting on the canticle of Ezekiel 36:24-27, which forms a part of the Liturgy of the Hours.

"God is not indifferent before good and evil," the Holy Father said. The Lord "enters mysteriously the scene of human history with his judgment which, sooner or later, will unmask evil, defend the victims, and indicate the way of justice."

This is precisely the meaning of trials, which are "never ruin, pure and simple condemnation, the annihilation of the sinner," the Pope said.

He added that God not only purifies the human being "through trial and suffering," but also opens a "new era" to him: "a new spirit given by God to the children of his people will be his Spirit, the Spirit of God himself."

"From our breast will be taken the stony heart, cold and insensitive, sign of obstinacy in evil," the Pope said. "God will replace it with a natural heart, that is to say, a source of life and love."

The Holy Father ended by showing how the transformation produced by contrition and God's forgiveness is the real reason for the soul's beauty.

This is how God's exclamation in the Song of Songs is understood, when he says, "You are beautiful, my beloved, you are beautiful!" the Pope observed.

St. Cyril of Jerusalem attributed this enchantment of God to "the fruits of a confession made with a good conscience," the Holy Father said.

Thus John Paul II continued his series of weekly meditations on the Psalms and canticles of the Old Testament. They can be consulted at the ZENIT Web page.