In his general audience speech, Pope Francis continued his catechesis on mercy as understood in scripture, finishing his segment on the Old Testament.
He focused on Psalm 51, also referred to as "the Miserere" and which is traditionally understood as King David's prayer asking for forgiveness following his sin of adultery with Bathsheba.
Francis pointed to the psalm's opening words "Have mercy on me, O God in your kindness," saying they are "a moving confession of sin, repentance and confident hope in God's merciful pardon."
Alongside his "heartfelt plea" to be cleansed and purified of his sin, King David also praises God's infinite justice and holiness, the Pope observed.
Not only does he ask to be forgiven of his sin, but he also prays "for the gift of a pure heart and a steadfast spirit, so that, thus renewed, he may draw other sinners back to the way of righteousness."
"God's forgiveness is the greatest sign of his infinite mercy," Francis said, and in off-the-cuff remarks had the pilgrims present at the audience repeat three times that "God's forgiveness is greater than our sin!"
He closed his audience by praying that Mary, the "Mother of Mercy," would intercede so that all would become "ever more convincing witnesses to that divine mercy which forgives our sins, creates in us a new heart, and enables us to proclaim God's reconciling love to the world."