The Pope said that the first step in receiving God's mercy is by recognizing ourselves as sinners. It was during his homily on Thursday at Casa Santa Marta. "Closed hearts do not let the voice of the loving father, our Lord in,” he said.
"Listen to the voice of the Lord today. Do not harden your heart! The Lord always speaks so tenderly father also tells us: 'Come back to me with all your heart, for I am merciful and gracious'. But when the heart is hard this is not understood. God's mercy can only be understood if you are able to open your heart, so you can come.”
Pope Francis recalled that those who always seek an explanation for not understanding the message of Jesus fail in their loyalty and forget the word forgiveness.
EXCERPTS FROM THE HOMILY IN ENGLISH
(Source: Vatican Radio)
"This unfaithfulness of God's people,” warns the Pope, is "also ours.” It is "our own infidelity [which] hardens the heart, closes the heart!"
"It does not allow [us to hear] the voice of the Lord who, as a loving father, always asks us to open ourselves to His mercy and His love. In the Psalms, the Pope adds, we all pray together: 'Hear now the voice of God. Do not harden your hearts! ' The Lord always speaks with us in this way, also with the tenderness of a father who says: 'Return to me with all your heart, for I am compassionate and merciful.’But when the heart is hardened, you don’t understand this. God’s mercy can only be understood when you are able to open your heart to let it enter."
"This is the story, the story of this failed fidelity. The story of closed hearts, of hearts that do not let in the mercy of God, which have forgotten the word forgiveness: 'Forgive me Lord!' - simply because they do not [see themselves as] sinners [but see themselves as] judges of others. A story lasting centuries.” And Jesus, the Pope continues, explains this failed fidelity very clearly - to combat the discourse of such hypocrites: ‘He who is not with me is against me.' "It’s clear! Or are you faithful, with your heart open to God who is faithful to you, or you are against Him: 'He who is not with me is against me!'"
"We ask the Lord for the grace of fidelity. And the first step on this path towards fidelity is to admit you are a sinner,” adds Pope Francis. "If you do not feel sinful, you have begun badly. We ask for grace so that our hearts do not harden - that they are open to God's mercy - and for the grace of faithfulness. And when we find ourselves unfaithful, for the grace to ask for forgiveness."