The Church rightly considers it her duty and the purpose of her mission to guard the authenticity of forgiveness, both in life and behavior and in educational and pastoral work. She protects it simply by guarding its source, which is the mystery of the mercy of God Himself as revealed in Jesus Christ.
At the Easter Vigil we sing of those springs of salvation in Isaiah, and St John Paul reminds us here:
The basis of the Church’s mission, in all the spheres spoken of in the numerous pronouncements of the most recent Council and in the centuries-old experience of the apostolate, is none other than “drawing from the wells of the Savior”(Cf. Is. 12:3) this is what provides many guidelines for the mission of the Church in the lives of individual Christians, of individual communities, and also of the whole People of God. This “drawing from the wells of the Savior” can be done only in the spirit of that poverty to which we are called by the words and example of the Lord: “You received without pay, give without pay.”(Mt. 10:8) Thus, in all the ways of the Church’s life and ministry-through the evangelical poverty of her-ministers and stewards and of the whole people which bears witness to “the mighty works” of its Lord-the God who is “rich in mercy” has been made still more clearly manifest.
God’s richness is received and given away without cost (Cf. also Isaiah 55:1ff, also from the Easter Vigil). Do we exemplify this urging, even outside of groups that practice evangelical poverty?
Dives in Misericordia, the second encyclical of Pope John Paul II, is available online here, and is copyright © 1980 – Libreria Editrice Vaticana