Skip to content

Pope Benedict Commentary on Psalm 144(145):14-21

"The Lord Is Near to All Who Call Upon Him"

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 9, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave at today's general audience. The Pope commented on the second part of Psalm 144(145).

* * *

1. Following the Liturgy, which divides it in two parts, we again reflect on Psalm 144(145), an admirable hymn in honor of the Lord, an affectionate king attentive to his creatures. We now want to meditate on the second part, on verses 14 to 21, which take up again the essential topic of the hymn's first movement.

In it are exalted divine mercy, tenderness, fidelity and goodness that extend to the whole of humanity, involving every creature. Now the psalmist concentrates his attention on the love the Lord reserves in a particular way for the poor and the weak. Therefore, divine royalty is not indifferent or haughty, as can sometimes happen in the exercise of human power. God expresses his royalty stooping down to his most fragile and defenseless creatures.

2. In fact, above all, he is a Father who "upholds all who are falling" and straightens those who have fallen in the dust of humiliation (cf. verse 14). Living beings, therefore, are oriented to the Lord as if they were hungry beggars and he offers them, as attentive Father, the food they need to live (cf. verse 15).

Then, from the lips of the psalmist issues the profession of faith in the two divine qualities par excellence: justice and holiness. "You, Lord, you just in all your ways, faithful in all your works" (verse 17). In Hebrew, we come across two typical adjectives to illustrate the Covenant that exists between God and his People: "saddiq" and "hasid." They express justice, which wants to save and liberate from evil, and fidelity which is a sign of the loving greatness of the Lord.

3. The psalmist places himself on the side of the benefited that he describes with different expressions; they are terms that constitute, in practice, a representation of the authentic believer. The latter "invokes" the Lord in confident prayer, seeks him in life "in truth" (cf. verse 18), fears his God, respecting his will and obeying his Word (cf. verse 19), but above all, "loves" him, confident that he will be received under the mantle of his protection and intimacy (cf. verse 20).

The psalmist's last word, then, is the same as that with which he began the hymn: It is an invitation to praise and bless the Lord and his "name," namely, the living and holy person that acts and saves in the world and history. Beyond that, it is a call to all creatures, who have received the gift of life, to associate themselves to the prayer of praise: "All flesh will bless your holy name forever." It is a kind of everlasting hymn that must be raised from earth to heaven; it is the communal celebration of the universal love of God, source of peace, joy and salvation.

4. Concluding our reflection, let us meditate again on that gentle verse that says: "You, Lord, are near to all who call upon you, to all who call upon you in truth" (verse 18). It was a phrase that was particularly liked by Barsanufius of Gaza, an ascetic who died about the middle of the sixth century, who was consulted by monks, ecclesiastics and lay people because of the wisdom of his discernment.

For example, to a disciple who expressed the desire to discover "the causes of the different temptations that had assailed him," Barsanufius replied: "Brother John, do not be afraid of the temptations that arise against you to put you to the test, do not be determined in trying to understand what it is about; rather, cry out the name of Jesus: 'Jesus, help me.' And he will hear you because "the Lord is near to all who call upon him.' Do not be discouraged, run with ardor and you will reach your end in Christ, Jesus, our Lord" (Barsanufius and John of Gaza, "Epistolario," 39: "Collana di Testi Patristici," XCIII, Rome, 1991, p. 109).

And these words of the ancient Father are also valid for us. In our difficulties, problems, temptations, we must not simply engage in a theoretical reflection -- from whence do they come? -- but must react positively, invoking the Lord, maintaining a living contact with the Lord. Beyond that, we must cry out the name of Jesus: "Jesus, help me!" And we may be sure that he listens to us, as he is near to those who seek him. Let us not be discouraged; rather, let us run with ardor -- as this Father says -- and we too will reach life, Jesus, the Lord.

[At the end of the audience, the Holy Father greeted pilgrims in several languages. In English, he said:]

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In today's reflection we return to Psalm 144, a beautiful hymn in honor of the Lord, loving king, who is pious, tender, faithful and extends his goodness to all creatures. The Psalmist emphasizes that the Lord's love is never detached and lofty but is reserved in a special way for the weak and the poor. God is a Father who expresses his kingly nature by stooping down to protect those who are most fragile and defenseless.

"The Lord is just in all his ways and loving in all his deeds." The true believer should invoke the Lord in devoted prayer, seek him with a sincere heart, fear him, and above all love him.

In conclusion, let us contemplate the advice of Barsanufius of Gaza who encourages us to call upon Jesus for help during moments of temptation. Indeed, "the Lord is close to all who call him, who call on him from their hearts."

I am pleased to welcome the English-speaking pilgrims present at this audience, especially those from Ireland and the United States of America. Upon all of you I invoke the Lord's blessings of health and joy.

Contact

The Vatican
http://www.catholic.org , VA
Pope Benedict XVI - Bishop of Rome, 661 869-1000

Email

info@yourcatholicvoice.org

Keywords

Psalm, Pope, Benedict, Commentary

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

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.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

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

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity
DAN SHEA

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Information
Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
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

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Services
Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Education
Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

Catholic Online MasterClass
Learn from experts

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Catholic Media Missionaries
The New Evangelization

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Socials
Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.