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Pope Francis

God’s grace transforms sinners into apostles, pope says

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Pope Francis accepts a portrait with his likeness during his general audience in the San Damaso Courtyard of the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican June 30. The pope continued his series of audience talks focused on the Letter to the Galatians and reflected on St. Paul’s life and the power of God’s grace. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Even the lowliest of sinners can become the greatest of apostles by answering God’s call and allowing his grace to work in their heart and mind, Pope Francis said. The life of St. Paul, who went “from being a persecutor of Christians for not observing the traditions and the law” to being one of the great apostles, highlights the power of God’s grace, the pope said June 30 during his weekly general audience.

“How often, in the face of the Lord’s great works, does the question arise: How is it possible that God uses a sinner, a frail and weak person, to do his will? And yet, none of this happens by chance, because everything has been prepared in God’s plan. He weaves our history and, if we correspond with trust to his plan of salvation, we realize it,” he said.

Arriving in the San Damaso Courtyard of the Apostolic Palace, the pope took his time greeting pilgrims and blessing newlyweds. Before concluding the audience, the pope also took time to thank his personal driver, Renzo Cieci, who was retiring. “He began working when he was 14 years old, riding a bicycle. Today, he is the pope’s driver. Let us applaud Renzo and his faithfulness. He is one of those people who bring the church forward with his work, with his goodness and with his prayers. I thank him so much, and I also would like to take the opportunity to thank all the laypeople who work here at the Vatican,” the pope said.

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