Commentary on 2nd Part of Psalm 138(139)
On the Embryo "God Has Already Turned His Loving Eyes"
VATICAN CITY, JAN. 8, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave at the Dec. 28 general audience, which he dedicated to comment on the second part of Psalm 138(139).
* * *
1. At this general audience on Wednesday of the octave of Christmas, the liturgical feast of the Holy Innocents, let us resume our meditation on Psalm 138(139), proposed in the Liturgy of Vespers in two distinct stages. After contemplating in the first part (verses 112) the omniscient and omnipotent God, the Lord of being and history, this sapiential hymn of intense beauty and deep feeling now focuses on the loftiest, most marvelous reality of the entire universe: man, whose being is described as a "wonder" of God (verse 14).
Indeed, this topic is deeply in tune with the Christmas atmosphere we are living in these days in which we celebrate the great mystery of the Son of God who became man, indeed, became a Child, for our salvation.
After pondering on the gaze and presence of the Creator that sweeps across the whole cosmic horizon, in the second part of the Psalm on which we are meditating today Goel' turns his loving gaze upon the human being, whose full and complete beginning is reflected upon.
He is still an "unformed substance" in his mother's womb: The Hebrew term used has been understood by several biblical experts as referring to an "embryo," described in that term as a small, oval, curled-up reality, but on which God has already turned his benevolent and loving eyes (verse 16).
2. To describe the divine action within the maternal womb, the psalmist has recourse to classical biblical images, comparing the productive cavity of the mother to the "depths of the earth," that is, the constant vitality of great mother earth (verse 15).
First of all, there is the symbol of the potter and of the sculptor who "fashions" and moulds his artistic creation, his masterpiece, just as it is said about the creation of man in the Book of Genesis: "the Lord God formed man out of the clay of the ground" (Genesis 2:7).
Then there is a "textile" symbol that evokes the delicacy of the skin, the flesh, the nerves, "threaded" onto the bony skeleton. Job also recalled forcefully these and other images to exalt that masterpiece which the human being is, despite being battered and bruised by suffering: "Your hands have formed me and fashioned me. ... Remember that you fashioned me from clay ...! Did you not pour me out as milk and thicken me like cheese? With skin and flesh you clothed me, with bones and sinews knit me together" (Job 10:8-11).
3. The idea in our psalm that God already sees the entire future of that embryo, still an "unformed substance," is extremely powerful. The days which that creature will live and fill with deeds throughout his earthly existence are already written in the Lord's book of life.
Thus, once again the transcendent greatness of divine knowledge emerges, embracing not only humanity's past and present but also the span, still hidden, of the future. However, the greatness of this little unborn human creature, formed by God's hands and surrounded by his love, also appears: a biblical tribute to the human being from the first moment of his existence.
Let us now entrust ourselves to the reflection that St. Gregory the Great in his Homilies on Ezekiel has interwoven with the sentence of the psalm on which we commented earlier: "Your eyes beheld my unformed substance; in your book were written every one of them [my days]" (verse 16). On those words the Pontiff and Father of the Church composed an original and delicate meditation concerning all those in the Christian community who falter on their spiritual journey.
And he says that those who are weak in faith and in Christian life are part of the architecture of the Church. "They are nonetheless added ... by virtue of good will. It is true, they are imperfect and little, yet as far as they are able to understand, they love God and their neighbor and do not neglect to do all the good that they can. Even if they do not yet attain spiritual gifts so as to open their soul to perfect action and ardent contemplation, yet they do not fall behind in love of God and neighbor, to the extent that they can comprehend it.
"Therefore, it happens that they too contribute to building the Church because, although their position is less important, although they lag behind in teaching, prophecy, the grace of miracles and complete distaste for the world, yet they are based on foundations of awe and love, in which they find their solidity" (2, 3, 12-13, "Opere di Gregorio Magno," IIV 2, Rome, 1993, pp. 79, 81).
St. Gregory's message, therefore, becomes a great consolation to all of us who often struggle wearily along on the path of spiritual and ecclesial life. The Lord knows us and surrounds us all with his love.
[At the end of the audience, the Holy Father greeted pilgrims in several languages. In English, he said:]
I am pleased to welcome the English-speaking pilgrims present at this audience, especially those from Japan and the United States of America. Upon all of you I invoke the blessings of this Christmas season.
[Translation of Italian original by L'Osservatore Romano]
http://www.catholic.org , VA
Pope Benedict XVI - Bishop of Rome, 661 869-1000
Psalm, Commentary, God, Salvation, Benedict, Embryo
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, December 19th, 2017 HD Video
- Daily Readings for Sunday, December 17, 2017
- Australia asks Church to end celibacy and confession to fight child ...
- Commission recommends Church end priestly celibacy and confession to ...
- Church reviews possible Catholic hospital mega-merger
- Indonesia rejects law that would criminalize sex outside of marriage
- St. Olympias: Saint of the Day for Sunday, December 17, 2017
- Daily Reading for Monday, December 18th, 2017 HD
- Daily Reading for Sunday, December 17th, 2017 HD
- Daily Reading for Saturday, December 16th, 2017 HD
- The Net Neutrality Scam: Get ready to pay a lot more for a lot less HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way