.- Pope Benedict XVI said Sept. 14 that Christians should continue to call upon God even in times of trial, when he may seem distant.
âThe shadow of the Cross gives way to the bright hope of the Resurrection,â the Pope told pilgrims gathered in the Vaticanâs Paul VI Hall for his weekly audience.
âWe too, when we call upon him in times of trial, must place our trust in the God who brings salvation, who conquers death with the gift of eternal life.â
The Pope drew his observations from Psalm 22, which he described as âa heartfelt prayer of lamentation from one who feels abandoned by God.â
The writer of the psalm is âsurrounded by enemies who are persecuting him,â and so he âcries out by day and by night for help, and yet God seems to remain silent.â
âMy God , my God, why hast thou forsaken me?â is the cry of the psalmist to the Almighty.
Pope Benedict explained how the writer is despairing of the Lord rescuing him even though âthe people of Israel called trustingly upon the Lord in times of trial, and he answered their prayer,â and in his own life âthe Lord cared for him personally in his earlier life, as a child in his motherâs womb, as an infant in his motherâs arms.â
âDespite such adverse circumstances, though,â observed the Pope, âthe psalmistâs faith and trust in the Lord remains.â So much so that he âends on a note of confidence, as Godâs name is praised before all the nations.â
The Pope said this is also the attitude all Christians should learn to have in times of near despair.
The best example of this trust in God the Father, said the Pope, is Jesus Christ himself, who also utters the words of Psalm 22 as he hangs on the cross of Calvary.
âHe too seems to have been abandoned to a cruel fate,â noted the Pope, âwhile his enemies mock him, attacking him like ravenous and roaring lions, dividing his clothing among them as if he were already dead.â
Yet in his passion on Good Friday âin obedience the Father, the Lord Jesus, through abandonment and death, comes to give life and give it to all believers.â
Thus, by praying the âheartfelt and touchingâ Psalm 22, the individual Christian is brought to the foot of the Cross of Christ âto live out his passion and share the fruitful joy of the resurrection.â
Pope Benedict concluded the audience by imparting his apostolic blessing, before returning by helicopter to his summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, 15 miles south of Rome.