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God the Almighty Father

Catechesis by Pope John Paul II on God the Father
General Audience, Wednesday, 18 September 1985 - in Italian & Spanish  

"1. "I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth...."

God who has revealed himself, the God of our faith, is an infinitely perfect spirit. We spoke of this in the previous catechesis. As an infinitely perfect spirit he is the absolute fullness of Truth and Goodness, and he desires to give himself. Goodness extends itself: bonum est diffusivum sui (Summa Theol., I, q. 5, a. 4, ad 2).

The creeds express in a certain sense this truth about God viewed as the infinite fullness of goodness. They do this by affirming that God is the creator of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. It is fitting to examine here in the light of revelation that which in God corresponds to the mystery of creation, even though we shall deal with the truth about creation somewhat later.

2. The Church professes that God is omnipotent ("I believe in God, the Father Almighty") inasmuch as he is an infinitely perfect spirit. God is also omniscient, that is, his knowledge penetrates everything.

This omnipotent and omniscient God has the power to create, to call into being from non-being, from nothingness. We read in the Book of Genesis 18:14: "Is anything impossible for the Lord?"

The Book of Wisdom (11:21) states: "For it is always in your power to show great strength, and who can withstand the might of your arm?" The Book of Esther professes the same faith in the words: "Lord, King who rules over the universe, all things are in your power and there is no one who can oppose you" (Esther 4:17b). The Archangel Gabriel will say to Mary of Nazareth at the Annunciation: "With God nothing is impossible" (Lk 1:37).

3. God, who reveals himself by the mouth of the prophets, is omnipotent. These truths run deeply through the whole of revelation, beginning with the first words of the Book of Genesis: "God said: 'Let there be...'" (Gen 1:3). The creative act is manifested as the all-powerful word of God: "For he spoke, and it came to be..." (Ps 33:9). By creating everything from nothing, being from non-being, God reveals himself as the infinite fullness of goodness which extends itself. He who is, Subsisting Being, infinitely perfect Being, in a certain sense gives himself in that "is," by calling into existence outside of himself the visible and invisible cosmos—the created beings. By creating things he begins the history of the universe. By creating man as male and female he begins the history of humanity. As Creator he is the Lord of history. "There are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one" (1 Cor 12:6).

4. The God who reveals himself as Creator, and so as Lord of the history of the world and of humanity, is the omnipotent God, the living God.... According to the First Vatican Council: "The Church believes and acknowledges that there exists one only living and true God, creator and Lord of heaven and earth, omnipotent" (DS 3001). This God, a spirit infinitely perfect and omniscient, is absolutely free and sovereign even in regard to the very act of creation. He is first of all Lord of his own will in the work of creation if he is the Lord of all that he creates. He creates because he wills to create. He creates because this is in accordance with his infinite wisdom. In creating he acts with the inscrutable fullness of his liberty, under the impulse of eternal love.

5. The text of the First Vatican Council's Constitution Dei Filius, already quoted on several occasions, emphasizes God's absolute liberty in creation and in his every action. God is "most happy in himself and of himself." He possesses the complete fullness of goodness and happiness in himself and of himself. He does not call the world into existence in order to complete or integrate the goodness which he is. He creates solely and exclusively for the purpose of bestowing the goodness of a manifold existence on the world of invisible and visible creatures. It is a multiple and varied participation of the unique, infinite, eternal good, which is identical with the very Being of God.

God is absolutely free and sovereign in the work of creation. He remains fundamentally independent of the created universe. This does not in any way imply that he is indifferent in regard to creatures. Rather, he guides them as Eternal Wisdom, Love and Omnipotent Providence.

6. Sacred Scripture sets out the fact that in this work God is alone. The prophet Isaiah declares "I am the Lord, who made all things, who stretched out the heavens alone, who spread out the earth—who was with me?" (Is 44:24). God's sovereign liberty and his paternal omnipotence stand out in his "solitude" in the work of creation.

"The God who formed and created the earth and established it, did not create it as a chaos, but formed it to be inhabited" (Is 45:18). The Church professes from the very beginning her faith in the "Almighty Father," creator of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. She does so in the light of the self-revelation of God who "spoke by the prophets and in these last his Son" (Heb 1:1-2). This omnipotent God is also omniscient and omnipresent. Or better, one could say that, as an infinitely perfect spirit, God is simultaneously Omnipotence, Omniscience and Omnipresence.

7. God is first of all present to himself: in his One and Triune Divinity. He is also present in the universe which he has created. His presence is a consequence of the work of creation by means of his creative power (per potentiam), which makes present his transcendental Essence itself (per essentiam). This presence surpasses the world, penetrates it and keeps it in existence. The same can be repeated of God's presence through his knowledge, as the infinite glance which sees, penetrates and scrutinizes everything (per visionem or per scientiam). Finally, God is present in a special way in human history, which is also the history of salvation. This is (if one may say so) the most "personal" presence of God—his presence through grace, which humanity received in its fullness in Jesus Christ (cf. Jn 1:16-17). We shall speak of this last mystery of the faith in a proximate catechesis.

8. "O Lord, you search me and you know me..." (Ps 139:1).

Let us profess together with the entire People of God present in every part of the world, while we repeat the inspired words of this Psalm, our faith in the omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence of God who is our Creator, Father and Providence! "In him...we live, and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28).

After the Catechesis, Pope John Paul II greeted the pilgrims in various languages

Ai pellegrini di lingua francese

Chers Frères et Soeurs,

Parmi vous, je salue particulièrement le pèlerinage du Congo, en évoquant avec joie la visite pastorale que j’ai faite dans leur pays il y a cinq ans. Que votre présence à Rome et votre visite aux tombeaux des Apôtres soient pour vous, chers Frères et Soeurs, une occasion d’approfondir votre foi et de resserrer vos liens avec toute l’Eglise. Et que le Seigneur vous aide à être partout les témoins de son Amour! De grand cœur, je vous bénis vous et tous les vôtres.

Ai fedeli di lingua inglese

I would like to welcome all the English-speaking visitors and pilgrims present at this Audience. In particular, I am happy to greet the priests and religious. Also I wish to welcome the group of pilgrims from the “Faith and Light” communities in South Africa. Your presence here, my brothers and sisters, is a special reminder that we are all called to share and fulfil in our own bodies the sufferings of Christ. May your oneness with our Lord’s sacrifice be a source of strength and courage for yourselves and all those dear to you.

In the grace and peace of Christ may all of you be blessed and renewed in faith.

Ai fedeli di lingua tedesca

Liebe Bruder und Schwestern!

Mit diesen Gedanken zum Fundament unseres Glaubens grüße ich alle Besucher aus den deutschsprachigen Ländern, aus Deutschland und Osterreich, aus der Schweiz und aus Liechtenstein, und erbitte euch die weise Führung Gottes für einen gesegneten Aufenthalt in der Ewigen Stadt.

Ai fedeli di lingua spagnola

Deseo ahora dar mi cordial bienvenida a esta Audiencia a todos los peregrinos y visitantes de lengua española.

En particular al grupo de Religiosas “Pureza de María” de Barcelona a quienes aliento a continuar dando testimonio de generosa entrega a Dios y servicio a los hermanos.

Saludo a los miembros del Movimiento Schonstatt aquí presentes procedentes de Ecuador y de otros Países de lengua hispana. Igualmente a los peregrinos de la Arquidiócesis de Madrid, de la Parroquia “Virgen de los Angeles” de Serra (Valencia), a los participantes en las “Aulas de la Tercera Edad” de Pamplona y al grupo folklórico “Sant Jordi” de Tarragona.

A todas las personas y grupos hispano-hablantes provenientes de España y de los diversos Países de América Latina imparto con afecto la Bendición Apostólica.

Ai fedeli provenienti dalla Polonia

Witam serdecznie Księży Biskupów, Księdza Biskupa Ordynariusza Koszalińsko-Kołobrzeskiego, Księdza Biskupa Sufragana z Opola. Witam pielgrzymów z parafii Miłosierdzia Bożego ze Wzgórz Krzesławickich; z duszpasterstwa akademickiego ojców dominikanów “Beczka” w Krakowie; z duszpasterstwa akademickiego ojców karmelitów bosych - Karmel z Krakowa; z Księgarni św. Jacka w Katowicach; pielgrzymkę katedralną z Tarnowa; jubileuszowa pielgrzymkę instytutu szentackiego sióstr Maryi z Otwocka; z Klubu Inteligencji Katolickiej z Warszawy; z parafii Chrystusa Króla z Rzeszowa, diecezja przemyska; z parafii św. Andrzeja Boboli z Poznania; z parafii Podwyższenia Krzyża Pańskiego z Poznania; z parafii Matki Bożej Częstochowskiej z Poznania; z parafii Miłosierdzia Bożego z Poznania; z parafii św. Józefa z Poznania; z parafii Radków, archidiecezja wrocławska; Klub Inteligencji Katolickiej z Wrocławia; z parafii Matki Bożej Nieustającej Pomocy z Wrocławia; z parafii św. Bonifacego z Wrocławia; pielgrzymkę z diecezji lubelskiej - nauczyciele języków obcych z KUL-u; diecezji opolskiej - pielgrzymi z dekanatu Otmuchów; jeszcze z Wrocławia - pielgrzymi trzeciej oazy akademickiej z parafii św. Augustyna, ojcowie kapucyni; z parafii św. Jozafata Bayside, New York - pielgrzymka polonijna na 75-lecie istnienia parafii; grupę automobilistów z Łodzi i Warszawy PZMot oraz uczestników grup turystycznych PEKAES-u, Turysty, Sport-Turysty z Ujazdu i Opola, PTTK oraz Towarzystwo Włosko-Polskie.

Ai partecipanti a un convegno promosso dall’Associazione Cattolica Operatori Sanitari

Una parola di saluto e di benvenuto cordiale ai responsabili dell’Associazione cattolica Operatori sanitari, riuniti a Roma, da diverse parti d’Italia, per un convegno, che ha lo scopo di approfondire i loro compiti nei confronti dell’Associazione, affinché essa sia sempre una persona viva negli ambienti sanitari.

Carissimi, auspico che il Signore vi conceda sempre sentimenti di evangelica umanità e che viviate dell’autentica spiritualità che Cristo dona, rendendo delicato il cuore e attento lo spirito per alleviare il dono di chi soffre.

Volentieri vi imparto la benedizione apostolica.

Ai giovani

Carissimi giovani! In questi giorni per la maggior parte di voi sono iniziate o iniziano le scuole. La scuola è uno dei momenti e luoghi privilegiati in cui si mette a buon frutto quella specifica “ricchezza” dell’uomo che è l’età giovanile. Nella scuola la giovinezza diviene tempo di scoperta intensa e organica del mondo che ci circonda e dell’io umano che vi riguarda, delle sue proprietà come delle capacità ad esso unite (Giovanni Paolo II, Epistula Apostolica ad iuvenes, Internationali vertente Anno Iuventuti dicato, 3, 31 marzo 1985: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, VIII/1 [1985] 760ss.).

Utilizzate bene il tempo prezioso della scuola per prepararvi con serietà alla vita, mediante una formazione non solo intellettuale, ma anche morale e religiosa.

I giovani della parrocchia di Maggianico, nella diocesi di Milano, mi hanno chiesto di accendere una fiaccola per una marcia della fede. Lo faccio ben volentieri, carissimi giovani, e mi unisco così alla vostra festa, con la sincera convinzione che molto può contribuire per la vostra formazione l’opera di un Oratorio diretto con intelligenza e zelo.

Di cuore vi benedico tutti.

Agli ammalati

Carissimi malati! Il cuore del Papa vi è sempre vicino in modo speciale, voi lo sapete bene. Anche questa mattina voglio rivolgere un pensiero particolarmente affettuoso. Quando si è malati e si soffre, anche quello che sarebbe stato un periodo di meritato riposo e di vacanza, si avverte assai poco. Ma così ha permesso il Signore per i suoi piani di misericordia. Vi sia di consolazione questo pensiero. Offrite volentieri quella sofferenza che, forse inaspettatamente, vi è giunta. Il Signore vuole associarvi alla sua opera di redenzione. Vi accompagni e vi sostenga la mia benedizione.

Agli sposi novelli

Carissimi sposi novelli, a voi il mio benvenuto e il mio cordiale saluto! Mi piace immaginare che le recenti vacanze siano state, almeno per molti di voi, un tocco di ulteriore dolcezza alla gioia dell’affetto fecondo e indissolubile che avete recentemente consacrato alla presenza del Signore e per opera della sua grazia. Siategli dunque riconoscenti, perché tutto ciò è dono suo! Corrispondete in pienezza a questi doni, donategli con gioia tutte le forze, tutta quella vitalità che attualmente vi concede; da lui, che è il Signore della vita, attingete continuamente, nell’obbedienza alla sua legge, per l’espansione e il trionfo della vita!

Con la mia benedizione.

© Copyright 1996 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana