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Pope Francis: Forgiving Is ‘What God Likes Best’

After officially kicking off the Jubilee Year Tuesday, Pope Francis addressed crowds on Wednesday, telling them that the purpose of a Holy Year is to “live mercy” and that what God likes best is “forgiving his children.”

Speaking at the weekly General Audience, the Pope said that the Holy Year “is given to us to experience in our lives the sweet and gentle touch of God’s forgiveness, his presence beside us and his closeness especially in times of greatest need.”

The Jubilee is a special time for the Church to learn to choose only “what pleases God most,” Francis said, which is “to forgive his children, have mercy on them, so that they too may in turn forgive their brothers and sisters and shine like beacons of God’s mercy in the world.”

Citing the fourth-century bishop of Milan, Saint Ambrose, Francis said that only after creating man and woman did God proclaim creation to be “very good,” because “finally he had someone to forgive.”

God’s very being, said the Pope, “is mercy.” Which is why this year “we must open our hearts, so that God’s love and joy will fill all of us with this mercy,” he said.

There is nothing more important or a higher priority than the experience of God’s mercy, Francis said. “There is nothing more important than choosing ‘what God likes best,’ that is, his mercy, his love, his tenderness, his embrace, his caresses!”

Francis said that calling the special Jubilee Year was not an option, since it is something the Church and the world desperately need.

“The Church needs this extraordinary moment,” he said. “I do not say this extraordinary moment is good for the Church. I say the Church needs this extraordinary moment.”

The Jubilee, he said, “is a favorable time for all of us, because contemplating Divine Mercy, which surpasses all human limitations and shines on the darkness of sin, we can become more confident and effective witnesses.”

The Pope ended his address by expressing his wish that all Christians in this Holy Year will “experience the mercy of God and become witnesses of “what he likes best.”

“Is it naive to believe that this could change the world?” Francis asked. “Yes, humanly speaking it is foolish, but ‘the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men,’” he said.

Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome

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