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Pope reminds Christians to thank God for good things
By David Kerr
Pope Benedict XVI during his Oct. 5, 2011 general audience in St. Peter's Square
Pope Benedict XVI during his Oct. 5, 2011 general audience in St. Peter's Square

.- Pope Benedict XVI reminded Christians today to thank God for the good things in life, instead of only bringing problems to him.

“Dear brothers and sisters, in our prayers we should look at how often, in the events of our lives, the Lord has protected us, guided us, helped us,” the Pope said at the Oct. 12 general audience in St. Peter’s Square.

He encouraged Christians to “be more attentive to the good things that the Lord gives us. We are always attentive to the problems, difficulties and almost do not want to see that there are good things come from the Lord.”

In his latest discourse on prayer, Pope Benedict was dwelt on Psalm 126. It charts the joy of the Jewish people returning from their exile in Babylon in the 6th century B.C. Even today, the psalm is sung in an upbeat, joyous manner at Jewish religious occasions.

“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed,” reads the psalm’s first line as it depicts a people whose “mouths were filled with laughter” and “tongues with songs of joy.”

The psalm “celebrates the great things which the Lord has done for His people, and which He continues to do for all believers,” said Pope Benedict.

The importance of this gratitude to God, he added, is that it creates hearts “full of joy” and memories “of the good that also helps us in the dark hours.”

Such good memories are required by the Jewish people in the psalm, the Pope observed, as they returned to find to a promised land now “impoverished, devastated.” “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy,” is how the psalmist expresses his hope.

“This imagery of the seed which silently grows to maturity reminds us that God’s salvation is at once a gift already received and the object of our hope, a promise whose fulfilment remains in the future,” the Pope.

And he noted how Jesus later uses the same imagery to “express the passage from death to life, from darkness to light, which must take place in the lives of all who put their faith in him and share in his paschal mystery.”

“This psalm teaches us that, in our prayer, we must always remain hopeful and firm in our faith in God,” even when our life is “marked often by suffering, uncertainty, moments of crisis,” said the Pope, echoing a theme of his teachings from the last several weeks.
 
This hope and faith is fulfilled in Jesus, with whom “our exile ends, and every tear is dried.” It is in the “great discovery of Jesus Christ” that “we learn that even in dark nights, not to forget that the light exists, that God is already in the midst of our life and that we can sow with great confidence.”

Pope Benedict finished his discourse by saying: “As we pray this Psalm, may we echo the song of the Virgin Mary by rejoicing in the great things which the Almighty has done for us, and by awaiting in hope the fulfilment of God’s promises.”

He then led pilgrims in the singing of the Our Father in Latin before imparting his apostolic blessing.


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