Pope: God offers everyone his mercy as safe haven, door to salvation

Vatican City — God offers his mercy to everyone, showing his deep desire that everyone be saved, Pope Francis said.

Divine mercy is a safe and certain "shelter for whoever is weak and does not presume to save himself on his own," the pope said Friday, the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Addressing the World Seminar for Catholic Civil Aviation Chaplaincies at the Vatican, the pope said airports are like "cities within cities" where chaplains meet people from many nations, cultures and religions.

It is important, therefore, to "collaborate docilely and always listen to the Holy Spirit who creates unity in diversity," he said.

He asked chaplains to help people listen to the Word of God because those who listen "and take God's voice to heart become, in turn, capable of offering words of consolation and help others trust in divine mercy."

"Divine mercy opens itself up to everyone and shows the will of God, who wants to save everyone," he said.

Airport chaplains -- priests and assistants -- will encounter people from all walks of life: those who work at the airport; and those who are traveling for work, pleasure or to find safety, such as migrants and refugees.

"There are a worrying number of passengers without documents, often refugees and asylum seekers, who are detained at the airport for short or long periods, and sometimes without adequate human and spiritual assistance," the pope said.

Sometimes passengers face serious tragedies and threats to their safety or psychological state in the case of airplane "accidents or hijackings," he said.

Jesus, the Good Shepherd, wants to be present at airports in order "to care for his sheep" and let them experience God's infinite mercy, he said.

"In fact, today, proclaiming the Gospel entails relieving people of the burdens that weigh on their hearts and lives," he said; "it means offering the words of Jesus as an alternative to the promises of the world that do not offer true happiness."

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