Pope Benedict XVI- Audiences
“Praise the Lord for the Lord is good”
H.H. Benedict XVI
Sep 28, 2005
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
1. We now have before us the first part of Psalm 135, a hymn of
a liturgical nature, interlaced with allusions, memories and
references to other biblical texts. Indeed, the liturgy often
constructs its text by drawing from the Bible's great patrimony with
its rich repertory of subjects and prayers that sustain the journey
of the faithful.
We follow the prayerful line of this first section (cf. Ps
135: 1-12), which opens with a broad and impassioned invitation
to praise the Lord (cf. vv. 1-3). The appeal is made to the
"servants of the Lord, who stand in the house of the Lord, in the
courts of the house of our God" (vv. 1-2).
Therefore, we find ourselves in the living atmosphere of worship
that unfolds in the temple, the preferred and communal place of
prayer. Here, the presence of "our God", a "good" and "loving" God,
the God of the chosen and of the covenant (cf. vv. 3-4), is
After the invitation to praise, a soloist voice proclaims the
profession of faith that begins with the formula "I know" (v. 5).
This Creed makes up the essence of the entire hymn, revealed
in a proclamation of the Lord's greatness (ibid.), manifested
in his marvelous works.
2. Divine omnipotence is continually manifested throughout the
world, "in heaven, on earth, in the seas". It is he who produces
clouds, lightning, rain and wind, imaginarily contained in
"treasuries" or storehouses (cf. vv. 6-7).
Primarily, however, another aspect of divine activity is celebrated
in this profession of faith; it is the marvelous intervention in
history, where the Creator reveals his face as redeemer of his
people and king of the world. Before the eyes of Israel, gathered in
prayer, the great events of the Exodus unfold.
Here, in the first place, is the concise and essential commemoration
of the "plagues" of Egypt, the scourges inflicted by the Lord to
break down the oppressor (cf. vv. 8-9).
It is followed afterward with the evocation of the victories of
Israel after the long march in the desert. They are attributed to
the powerful intervention of God, who struck many "nations in their
greatness" and slew many "kings in their splendour" (cf. v. 10).
Finally, there is the long-awaited and hoped-for destination, the
promised land: "He let Israel inherit their land; on his people
their land he bestowed" (v. 12).
Divine love becomes concrete and can almost be experienced in
history with all of its bitter and glorious vicissitudes. The
liturgy has the duty to make present and efficacious the divine
gifts, especially in the great paschal celebration that is the root
of every other solemnity and is the supreme symbol of freedom and
3. Let us experience the spirit of the Psalm and its praise to God
through the voice of St Clement of Rome, as it resounds in the long
closing prayer of his Letter to the Corinthians. He notes
that, as in Psalm 135, the face of God the Redeemer appears; in
this way, his protection, already granted to the ancient fathers, is
now presented to us in Christ:
"O Lord, make your face shine upon us, for goodness in peace, to
protect us with your mighty hand and to deliver us from all sin with
your most high arm, saving us from those that hate us unjustly.
Grant concord and peace to us and to all the inhabitants of the
earth, as you gave it to our fathers when they devoutly called upon
your name in faith and truth.... To you, who are the only one
capable of doing these and other greater goods for us, we give you
thanks through the great priest and protector of our souls, Jesus
Christ, by whom you are glorified from generation to generation, for
ever and ever" (cf. 60, 3-4; 61, 3: Collana di Testi Patristici,
V, Rome, 1984, pp. 90-91).
Yes, in our times we too can recite this prayer of a first-century
Pope as our prayer for today: "O Lord, make your face shine upon us,
for goodness in peace. In these times, grant concord and peace to us
and to all the inhabitants of the earth, through Jesus Christ who
reigns from generation to generation and for ever and ever". Amen.
[To special groups:]
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I extend a warm welcome to the English-speaking pilgrims here today,
including groups from Canada, England, Indonesia, Ireland,
Scandinavia, South Africa and the United States of America. I greet
in particular those Israelis and Palestinians who have come to Rome
to participate in the Education to Peace seminar. Upon all of you, I
invoke God's abundant blessings of peace and joy.
Lastly, as is customary, I extend my thought to the sick people,
newly-weds and young people, among whom I would
especially like to greet the students of the Institute San Paolo
delle Suore Angeliche in Rome. I address to everyone the
invitation to be faithful to the evangelical ideal to fulfill it in
everyday life, thereby experiencing the joy of Christ's presence.
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