Peace Is Christ's Gift to a Troubled World, Pope Says

Highlights Message of Divine Mercy

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 19, 2004 (Zenit.org).- In an age beset by conflicts, "peace is the gift par excellence of Christ " for a world that needs to discover the mercy of God, says John Paul II.



"How much humanity needs to experience the efficacy of the mercy of God in these times marked by growing uncertainty and violent conflicts!" the Pope exclaimed before praying the midday Regina Caeli on Divine Mercy Sunday.

"Peace is the gift par excellence of the crucified and risen Christ, fruit of the victory of his love over sin and death," the Holy Father said when addressing from the window of his study the thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.

"By offering himself, immaculate victim of expiation on the altar of the cross, he spread over humanity the beneficent wave of Divine Mercy," the Pope said.

"Jesus, therefore, is our peace, as he is the perfect manifestation of Divine Mercy. He infuses in the human heart, an abyss ever exposed to the temptation of evil, the merciful love of God," he said.

"The Lord also sends us to take to all peace, founded on forgiveness and the remission of sins. It is an extraordinary gift, which he wished to link to the sacrament of penance and reconciliation," the Pontiff stressed.

The Church was celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday for the fourth time, as established by John Paul II in 2000.

Devotion to the Divine Mercy is a spiritual movement within the Church, promoted by St. Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938).

Before bidding farewell to the pilgrims in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father invited them to follow St. Faustina's example and be "witnesses of the merciful love of God."