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Wednesday, May 25, 2005


VATICAN CITY, MAY 25, 2005 (VIS) - In his weekly general audience, which was held this morning in St. Peter's Square, the Pope spoke on Psalm 115, "Thanksgiving in the Temple."

  Benedict XVI pointed out to the 27,000 people present that this psalm is mentioned by St. Paul when he tells the Corinthians: "Since we have the same spirit of faith as he had who wrote 'I believed and so I spoke,' we too believe, and so we speak." The Pope referred to the spiritual harmony between the Apostle and the Psalmist "in serene faith, and sincere witness, despite human suffering and weakness." This psalm, together with Psalm 114, constitutes "a single act of thanksgiving, addressed to the Lord  Who frees us from the terror of death."

  The text of the psalm describes "a tormented past. The Psalmist has held high the torch of faith, even when the bitterness of desperation and sorrow rise to his lips. Around him was an icy wall of hatred and deceit, because men appeared false and unfaithful. However, the supplication becomes gratitude because the Lord has raised His faithful servant from the dark abyss of falsehood."

  In off-the-cuff remarks, the Pope then added that "Christ was the first martyr, and gave His own life in a context of hatred and falsehood; yet He transformed His passion into 'Eucharist' that is 'joy and salvation'."

  Returning to his prepared catechesis, he continued: "The Psalmist prepares, then, to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, in which he will drink at the ritual chalice, the cup of sacred libation that is a sign of recognition for having been set free."

  The Pope indicated how the Psalmist bears witness of his own faith in the presence of all the people and how, "having been saved from death, feels himself to be the Lord's  'servant,' and 'son of His handmaiden;' a beautiful Oriental expression indicating a person born in the same house as his master. The Psalmist humbly and joyfully professes his association with the House of God, with the family of created beings united to him in love and faithfulness."

  "The entire people of God," he concluded, "thank the Lord of life, Who never abandons the just in the dark bosom of pain and death, but leads then to hope and to life."

  At the end of the audience, Benedict XVI invited everyone to participate in the Mass he will celebrate at 7 p.m. tomorrow, Solemnity of Corpus Christi, in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, and in the traditional procession to St. Mary Major, in order "to express together faith in Christ, Who is present in the Eucharist."
AG/PSALM 115/...                                VIS 20050525 (460)

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