.- In his general audience earlier today in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Benedict XVI encouraged nearly 15,000 listeners to realize that all are children of God the Father who, in light of Christ, “can now be invoked as 'Abba,'…in a spontaneous and loving relationship."
The Holy Father focused today’s scripture catechesis on the canticle in St. Paul's Letter to the Ephesians (1, 3-14), "God the Savior,” calling it “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."
The Pope stressed the fact that, "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."
Benedict then discussed a sort of Catholic idea of predestination saying that the Father "choose[s] the believers, a free and gratuitous initiative of God.”
“In principle, then,” he continued, “'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'."
"Following this course,” he said, “we move towards the next stage, which has also been contemplated in the divine plan for all eternity: our 'predestination' as children of God.”
Perhaps reaching the crux of his argument the Pope noted that, “Elsewhere in his writings, St. Paul exalts this sublime condition of being children, which implies brotherhood with Christ - the Son par excellence, 'first-born among many brothers' - and intimacy with the heavenly Father - Who can now be invoked as 'Abba,' Father, in a spontaneous and loving relationship."
The Holy Father concluded today’s teaching by referring to St. Ambrose, who wrote that God is above all rich in mercy because in Christ "He redeemed everyone and, as architect of nature, transformed us who by the nature of flesh were children of rage and subject to punishment, that we should be children of peace and of charity."