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AUDIENCE: GOD IS LOVE AND HAS DESTINED US TO BE HIS CHILDREN
VATICAN CITY, JUL 6, 2005 (VIS) - In today's general audience, held in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father spoke on the canticle in St. Paul's Letter to the Ephesians (1, 3-14), "God the Savior."

The Pope told the 15,000 people present that this hymn "is a prayer of blessing addressed to God the Father" that outlines "the various stages of the plan of salvation achieved through the action of Christ."

Benedict XVI went on: "The Father first chooses us that we might walk holy and blameless in love, then destines us to be His children; He also redeems us and forgives our sins, and makes the mystery of salvation in Christ fully known to us; finally He gives us the eternal inheritance, offering us a guarantee in the gift of the Holy Spirit until the final resurrection."

Among the successive divine gestures of the hymn is that of "choosing the believers, a free and gratuitous initiative of God. In principle, then, 'before the foundation of the world,' in the eternity of God, divine grace was ready to enter into action. The content of this call is 'sanctity,' in other words participation in the transcendent purity of the divine Being and in His intimate essence of 'charity,' 'God is love'."