Pope Benedict XVI- General Audiences
"I will give you glory"
H.H. Benedict XVI
February 1, 2006
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
1. We have just prayed Psalm 145, a joyful song of praise to
the Lord who is exalted as a tender and loving King, concerned for
all his creatures. The liturgy presents this hymn to us in two
separate parts that also correspond to the two poetical and
spiritual movements of the Psalm itself. We now reflect on the first
part, which corresponds to verses 1-13.
The Psalm is raised to the Lord who is invoked and described as
"King" (cf. Ps 145: 1), a depiction of the divine that is also
dominant in other psalmic hymns (cf. Ps 47, 93;
Indeed, the spiritual centre of our canticle is constituted
precisely by an intense and passionate celebration of the divine
kingship. The Hebrew word malkut, "reign", is
repeated in it four times, almost as if to indicate the four
cardinal points of being and of history (cf. Ps 145: 11-13).
We know that this royal symbolism, which was also to be central in
Christ's preaching, is the expression of God's saving project: he
is not indifferent to human history; on the contrary, he desires to
put a plan of harmony and peace for human history into practice with
us and for us.
The whole of humanity is called together to implement this plan in
order that it comply with the divine saving will, a will that is
extended to all "men", to "all generations", from "age to age".
It is a universal action that uproots evil from the world and
instills in it the "glory" of the Lord, that is, his personal,
effective and transcendent presence.
2. The prayerful praise of the Psalmist, who makes himself the voice
of all the faithful and today would like to be the voice of all of
us, is directed to this heart of the Psalm, placed precisely at the
centre of the composition. The loftiest biblical prayer is in fact
the celebration of the works of salvation, which reveal the Lord's
love for his creatures.
In this Psalm the Psalmist continues to praise the divine "name",
that is, the person of the Lord (cf. vv. 1-2), who manifests himself
in his historical action: indeed, his "works", "splendour",
"wonderful works", "mighty deeds", "greatness", "justice",
"patience", "compassion", "grace", "goodness" and "love" are
It is a prayer in the form of a litany which proclaims God's entry
into human events in order to bring the whole of created reality to
a salvific fullness. We are not at the mercy of dark forces nor
alone with our freedom, but rather, we are entrusted to the action
of the mighty and loving Lord, who has a plan for us, a "reign" to
establish (cf. v. 11).
3. This "kingdom" does not consist of power and might, triumph and
oppression, as unfortunately is often the case with earthly
kingdoms; rather, it is the place where compassion, love, goodness,
grace and justice are manifested, as the Psalmist repeats several
times in the flow of verses full of praise.
Verse 8 sums up this divine portrait: the Lord is "slow to anger,
abounding in love". These words are reminiscent of God's
presentation of himself on Sinai when he said: "The Lord, the Lord,
a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in
steadfast love and faithfulness" (Ex 34: 6).
We have here a preparation for the profession of faith in God of St
John the Apostle, who simply tells us that he is love: "Deus
caritas est" (cf. I Jn 4: 8, 16).
4. Our attention, as well as being fixed on these beautiful words
that portray to us a God who is "slow to anger" and "full of
compassion", always ready to forgive and to help, is also fixed on
the very beautiful verse 9 which follows: "How good is the Lord to
all, compassionate to all his creatures". These are words to
meditate upon, words of consolation, a certainty that he brings to
In this regard, St Peter Chrysologus (c. 380 c. 450) says in his
Second Discourse on Fasting: ""Great are the works of the
Lord'; but this grandeur that we see in Creation is surpassed by the
greatness of his mercy. Indeed, after the Prophet has said, "Great
are the works of God', in another passage he adds: "His compassion
is greater than all his works'. Mercy, brothers and sisters, fills
the heavens, fills the earth.... That is why the great, generous,
unique mercy of Christ, who reserved every judgment for a single
day, allotted all of man's time to the truce of penance.... That is
why the Prophet who did not trust in his own justice abandons
himself entirely to God's mercy; "Have mercy on me, O God', he says,
"according to your abundant mercy' (Ps 51: 3)" (42, 4-5:
Sermoni 1-62bis, Scrittori dell'Area Santambrosiana, 1,
Milan-Rome, 1996, pp. 299, 301).
And so, let us too say to the Lord, "Have mercy on me, O God, you
who are great in your mercy".
To special groups:
I extend a warm welcome to all the English-speaking pilgrims here
today, including groups from England and the United States of
America. I greet in particular those attending the Conference of
European English-speaking Rectors as well as the trustees and
officers of the University of Notre Dame. Upon all of you, I invoke
the peace and joy of Jesus Christ our Lord!
Lastly, I address the young people, the sick and the
newly-weds. Yesterday, we celebrated the memorial of St John
Bosco, priest and educator. Look at him, dear young people,
as an authentic teacher of life and holiness. Dear sick people,
learn from his spiritual experience to trust in the Crucified
Christ in every circumstance. And you, dear newly-weds, have
recourse to his intercession so that he may help you take on
generously your mission as husbands and wives.
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