Pope: God's kindness is forever, the "star of hope" even in the darkest hours of life
During the general audience, Benedict XVI speaks of Psalm 136, which is a thanksgiving for God's intervention in the history and lives of everyone. God who "after the dark days of Nazi and Communist persecution " delivered us, He is "faithful" and desires the salvation of all his creatures.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Just as when "after the dark days of Nazi and Communist persecution" God delivered us, so He is the "star of hope" for the personal story of the salvation of each one of us. We must always "remember the things he has done in our life and if today I am in the dark night of my soul tomorrow he will free me because His mercy is everlasting, His love endures forever. " "Having the memory of the goodness of the Lord becomes hope, even in darkness memory leads to hope."
This is the lesson we learn from Psalm 136, illustrated today by Benedict XVI to 30 thousand people in St. Peter's Square for the general audience.
"It is a psalm called the Great Hallel, which sings of the goodness of God and his wonders in the history of the people of Israel", it "summarizes the whole history of salvation of which the Old Testament bears witness" it is "a solemn prayer of thanksgiving traditionally sung at the end of the Passover meal and was probably sung by Jesus at the end of the Last Supper, before going to the Garden of Olives and Golgotha. "
"Along the psalm God’s intervention throughout the history of mankind is sung," "the help and constant providence of God for his people and every creature", "we celebrate the Lord who does great wonders." "The beginning is the creation with which God manifests Himself in all His goodness and beauty."
Then " the feast of Easter is immediately mentioned, when speaking of God's intervention in history and the liberation from slavery": "we are in the original moment in the history of Israel, God has intervened forcefully to free his people." But it is not over, there is the fear of the pursuing Egyptians and the obstacle of the sea: "the power of the Lord who wins the danger of natural and military forces of man" is shown, "the mighty hand of the Lord is revealed in all its saving power: the oppressor is overwhelmed by the water while the people of Israel pass".
The stay in the desert shows that "his love endures forever", it is a time in which Israel experiences difficulties, but lives "guided by the Lord with filial confidence." A time when "the Lord as the shepherd of Psalm 23 for 40 years has led his people, educated and loved them, leading them to the promised land, defeating the enemies who wanted to prevent them from attaining salvation."
"In the celebration of the Lord’s love the land that the people should live on as a legacy is mentioned," "a right of property which refers to the paternal patrimony." "One of the characteristics of God is giving. Now the wandering life, of living in tents is over for Israel, a period of happy stability of living in houses, and planting vines has begun".
And in two thousand years, the goodness of God has always accompanied the history of the Church too. Stressing that one of the prerogatives of God is to "gift" the Psalm ends with "the invitation to praise God, the God who created and enters into human history to bring salvation to all." One who "fills the universe with his presence for good, caring for life and giving bread ", "the invisible power of the Lord sung in the Psalms is revealed in the smallness of the bread, the" bread of life ", the Eucharist, that accompanies us in our lives as believers, "anticipating the joy of the final messianic banquet in heaven."