.- Continuing his weekly reflections on the Psalms, Pope Benedict, in today's general audience, reflected on God's continuing intervention throughout the "sad and glorious events" of human history, and how He constantly reveals Himself as redeemer of His people.
Speaking to a crowd of almost 30,000 in St. Peter's Square, the Pope offered reflection on the first part of Psalm 134: "Praise the Lord, Who works marvels."
This passage, he said, "is a liturgical-style hymn, interwoven with allusions, evocations, and references to other biblical texts. ... It begins with a broad-ranging and impassioned call to praise the Lord," in His temple, "the communal and preferred site of prayer. There the presence of 'our God' is effectively felt; a 'good' and 'gracious' God, the God of the choice and the covenant."
The Holy Father said that the writer's invitation to praise the Lord is followed by the "proclamation of the faith," the substance of the entire hymn which reveals itself as being a proclamation of the greatness of the Lord as revealed in His marvelous works."
"Divine omnipotence is then shown to the entire world," he said.
However, the Pope pointed out, "it is above all another aspect of divine activity that is being celebrated in this profession of faith: the wonderful intervention in history, where the Creator reveals His face as redeemer of His people and sovereign of the world. The great events of Exodus are set out before the eyes of Israel gathered in prayer."
Here, he said, "divine love becomes concrete and almost tangible in history with all its sad and its glorious events. It is the task of liturgy to make the divine gifts ever present and effective, especially in the great Paschal celebration which lies at the roots of all other solemnities, and constitutes the supreme emblem of freedom and salvation."
Pope Benedict then challenged the faithful to personally take on the words written by the first-century Pope, St. Clement of Rome, in his Letter to the Corinthians: "O Lord, bring your face to shine upon us for goodness in peace. ... Bring harmony and peace to us and to all inhabitants of the earth.”
Following today's audience, the Pope greeted participants of an international congress being held in Lucca, Italy, on the theme: "The signs of the Spirit in the twentieth century. A historical re-reading: the witnesses' account."
He told them that, "Last century, marked by sad pages of history, was at the same time permeated by marvelous testimony of spiritual and charismatic awakening in all fields of human life and activity."
Likewise, the Pope congratulated the national coordinator of Renewal in the Spirit - who promoted the congress in collaboration with the superior general of the Oblates of the Holy Spirit, the founder of the Community of Sant'Egidio, and the founder of Focolari movement.
He expressed his hope "that the Holy Spirit will always find fruitful welcome in the hearts of believers, and that the 'culture of the Pentecost,' so necessary in our time, will become more widely spread."