Krakow, Poland, Jul 30, 2016 / 09:28 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The weaker we are, the more God's mercy can transform our lives. Pope Francis made these impromptu remarks on Saturday to crowds of young people gathered outside of Krakow’s St. John Paul II shrine.
“Today, the Lord wants us to feel ever more profoundly his great mercy,” the Pope said in a short, impromptu speech, delivered right after his visit to the Polish city’s Divine Mercy shrine. “May we never turn away from Jesus!” Pope Francis shared these thoughts to a group of young people who are in Poland for World Youth Day moments before entering the St. John Paul II shrine to pass through its Holy Door, hear confessions, and celebrate Mass for priests and religious men and women.
We may think that we are the “worst” on account of our sins and weaknesses, the Pope told the youth. However, this is how God prefers us to be, in order that “his mercy may spread.” “Let us take advantage of these days to receive all of the mercy of Jesus!”
Pope Francis proceeded to lead the young people in praying the Hail Mary before bestowing on them his blessing. “And please, I ask you to pray for me.”
Before his brief encounter with the young people, the pontiff paid a visit to the shrine of the Divine Mercy where the body of St. Faustina Kowalska is interred. There, he venerated the relics of the Polish saint and mystic, during a brief ceremony attended by some 300 people, including members of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, St. Faustina’s own order.
While there, Pope Francis signed the sanctuary’s guestbook with the words: “I desire mercy, and not sacrifices.” The words refer to a passage from the Gospel of Matthew which the Pope has often referred to in the past.
Venerated by the Church as the “Apostle of Divine Mercy,” St. Faustina (1905-1938) reported numerous visions of Jesus throughout her life which she recorded in her diary. Many of the devotions relating to the feast of Divine Mercy, established on the first Sunday of Easter by St. John Paul II, were inspired by her writings.
Saturday marks the second to last day of Pope Francis’ July 27-31 apostolic journey to Poland where he is leading World Youth Day celebrations.