During his weekly audience, given today before thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Benedict XVI spoke of the mercy of God, and His accessibility to mankind through creation.
He continued his ongoing catechesis on the Psalms, today speaking on Psalm 135, known as the “great Hallel”, a hymn normally sung by the Jewish people during the Passover celebration.
The Pope told the crowd that the key word in this solemn hymn of praise is, "mercy…part of the language characteristically used by the bible to express the alliance between the Lord and His people.”
“Within this relationship,” Benedict continued, “God does not appear as an impassive and implacable Lord, like destiny against whose mysterious power all struggle is useless.”
He said that “Rather, [God] appears as a person Who loves His creatures, Who watches over them, follows them on their journey through history, and suffers from their frequent unfaithfulness to His merciful and paternal love."
The Holy Father pointed out that for the psalmist, it is clear that the first sign of this divine love can be found in creation.
"Before discovering the God Who reveals Himself in the history of a people,” he said, “there is a cosmic revelation, open to all. ...There exists, therefore, a divine message secretly inscribed in creation, a sign of the loving faithfulness of God, Who gives his creatures being and life.”
“The prayer of praise”, the Pope concluded, “arises, then, from the contemplation of the 'wonders' of God ... and is transformed into a joyous hymn of praise and thanksgiving."
He added that, "from the works of creation, it is possible to ascend to the greatness of God, to His loving mercy. This is what the Fathers of the Church teach us."
Pope Benedict then quoted St. Basil the Great, who wrote on the book of Genesis, saying that "if some people ... 'imagine the universe without guidance of order, as though at the mercy of chaos,' the sacred writer 'immediately enlightened our minds with the name of God at the beginning of the story: In the beginning God created. ... If, then, the world had a beginning and was created, seek out the One Who began it, the One Who is its Creator'."