VATICAN CITY, DEC 7, 2005 (VIS) - In the general audience held this morning in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI continued his catechesis on the Psalms, speaking on Psalm 137, "a hymn of thanksgiving." Twenty thousand pilgrims filled the square to hear the Holy Father's words.
The psalmist, said the Pope, "raises his voice before the Temple assembly or, at least, having the Shrine of Zion as a reference. ... He sings before God Who is in heaven with His host of angels, but Who also listens within the earthly space of the Temple."
"The psalmist is certain that the 'name' of the Lord - in other words His personal, living and active reality and His virtues of faithfulness and mercy - are the ... bastion of all faith and all hope. The psalmist's gaze then goes back for an instant to the past, to the day of suffering, when the divine voice answered the faithful's anguished cry, infusing courage into his troubled soul."
"Following this apparently personal premise," the Holy Father continued, "the psalmist extends his gaze to the earth and imagines his testimony incorporating the entire horizon: 'All the kings of the earth' ... join the Jewish psalmist in a common hymn of praise in honor of the greatness and regal power of the Lord."
The themes of this chorus of praise, the Pope explained, are "the 'glory' and the 'ways' of the Lord. ... God is clearly 'high' and transcendent, but He 'regards the lowly' with affection while removing the haughty from His sight. ... Thus, God chooses to defend the weak, the victims, the smallest; and this fact is conveyed to all kings that they might know which option to choose in governing their nations."
The closing section of the psalm contains an imploration to the Lord for His help in the trials of life, and a reference to the wrath of enemies. "A kind of symbol," said Pope Benedict, "of the hostility the just may face during their journey through history."
"We must be certain," the Pope concluded, "that however burdensome and stormy are the trials that await us, we will never be left alone, we will never fall from the Lord's hands, the hands that created us and that now follow us on life's itinerary. As St. Paul confesses: 'He Who began a good work in you will bring it to completion'."
AG/PSALM 137/... VIS 051207 (410)