by Pope John Paul II.
It is precisely because sin exists in the world, which God so loved … that he gave his only Son (Jn 3:16), that God who is love (1 Jn 4:8) cannot reveal himself other than as mercy.
This corresponds, not only to the most profound truth about that love which God is, but also to the whole interior truth of man and of the world, which is man’s temporary homeland.
Mercy, in itself, as a perfection of the infinite God, is also infinite. Also infinite therefore and inexhaustible is the Father’s readiness to receive the prodigal children who return to his home.
Infinite are the readiness and power of forgiveness which flow continually from the marvelous value of the sacrifice of the Son. No human sin can prevail over this power or even limit it.
On the part of man, only a lack of goodwill can limit it, a lack of readiness to be converted and to repent. In other words, persistence in obstinacy, opposing grace and truth, especially in the face of the witness of the cross and resurrection of Christ.
Therefore, the Church professes and proclaims conversion.
Conversion to God always consists in discovering his mercy, that is, in discovering that love which is patient and kind (cf. 1 Cor 13:4) as only the Creator and Father can be.
This is the love to which the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor 1:3) is faithful to the uttermost consequences in the history of his covenant with man: even to the cross and to the death and resurrection of the Son.
Conversion to God is always the fruit of the rediscovery of this Father, who is rich in mercy.
Authentic knowledge of the God of mercy, the God of tender love, is a constant and inexhaustible source of conversion, not only as a momentary interior act but also as a permanent attitude, a state of mind.
Those who come to know God in this way, who "see" him in this way, can live only in a state of being continually converted to him.
It is this state of conversion which marks out the most profound element of the pilgrimage of every man and woman on earth.
—Excerpted from the encyclical, Dives in Misericordia (Rich in Mercy). Part V11, #13.
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