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Jesus Loves Those Who Make Mistakes

by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Writer Those who take the wrong turn in life have always been particularly loved by Jesus, because once they recognize their mistake, they are the most open to His healing message. These were the words Pope Benedict XVI spoke today while meeting with young people with histories of drug addiction and other problems at World Youth Day 2008. The Pope made these comments at the University of Notre Dame Australia where he met young people who were participating in the “Alive” rehabilitation program. The name of the rehabilitation program was the central focus of the Holy Father's remarks. He recalled Moses' words in the Old Testament: “’I set before you life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life, then, so that you and your descendants may live in the love of the Lord your God . . .  for in this your life consists.’ “It was clear what they had to do,” the Pope explained. “They had to turn away from other gods and worship the true God Who had revealed himself to Moses - and they had to obey His commandments. “You might think that in today's world, people are unlikely to start worshipping other gods. But sometimes people worship 'other gods' without realising it. False 'gods' ... are nearly always associated with the worship of three things: material possessions, possessive love, or power.” The Pope used as an example material possession, which are good in themselves and something none of us could survive without for very long. “Yet if we are greedy, if we refuse to share what we have with the hungry and the poor, then we make our possessions into a false god. How many voices in our materialist society tell us that happiness is to be found by acquiring as many possessions and luxuries as we can! But this is to make possessions into a false god. Instead of bringing life, they bring death. On the hand, when we love, we become fully ourselves, fully human, he said. Unfortunately, our secular society encourages a skewed concept of love. “People often think they are being loving when actually they are being possessive or manipulative. People sometimes treat others as objects to satisfy their own needs.  . . .  How easy it is to be deceived by the many voices in our society that advocate a permissive approach to sexuality, without regard for modesty, self-respect or the moral values that bring quality to human relationships!” God has given us the power to shape the world around us, which is something good when this power is used properly and responsibility to transform people’s lives. “Yet how tempting it can be to grasp at power for its own sake, to seek to dominate others or to exploit the natural environment for selfish purposes! “The cult of material possessions, the cult of possessive love and the cult of power often lead people to attempt to ‘play God:’ to try to seize total control, with no regard for the wisdom or the commandments that God has made known to us. This is the path that leads towards death. By contrast, worship of the one true God means recognising in Him the source of all goodness . . .  that is the way to choose life.”  Benedict XVI then referred to the personal life stories of many members of the young people he was addressing who made “choices that led you down a path which, however attractive it appeared at the time, only led you deeper into misery and abandonment.” He acknowledged their courage in choosing to return to the path of life.  “Dear friends,” he concluded, “I see you as ambassadors of hope to others in similar situations. You can convince them of the need to choose the path of life and shun the path of death, because you speak from experience. “All through the Gospels, it was those who had taken wrong turns who were particularly loved by Jesus, because once they recognised their mistake, they were all the more open to His healing message. ... It was those who were willing to rebuild their lives who were most ready to listen to Jesus and become His disciples. You can follow in their foot steps, you too can grow particularly close to Jesus because you have chosen to turn back towards Him.”   © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly/Women of Grace. http://www.womenofgrace.com  

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