Comments on Canticle in Revelation 19: Part of John Paul II's Series on Vespers
VATICAN CITY, DEC. 10, 2003 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of the address John Paul II gave at today's general audience, which he dedicated to comment on the canticle of Revelation 19:1-7.
1. Continuing with the series of Psalms and canticles that constitute the ecclesial prayer of vespers, we are reflecting on a hymn, taken from Chapter 19 of the Book of Revelation, and composed of a sequence of alleluias and acclamations.
Behind these joyful invocations there is the dramatic lament intoned by the king, the merchants and seamen in the preceding chapter, in face of the collapse of imperial Babylon, the city of evil and oppression, symbol of the persecution unleashed against the Church.
2. In antithesis to this cry that rises from the earth, a joyful choir of a liturgical nature resounds in heaven that, in addition to the alleluia, also repeats the amen. In the text of Revelation, the various acclamations similar to antiphons, which the liturgy of vespers now unites in a single canticle, in fact are put on the lips of several personalities. We see first of all a "great multitude," made up of the assembly of angels and saints (see verses 1-3). Then the voice is heard of "twenty-four elders" and "four living creatures," symbolic figures which seem to be the priests of this heavenly liturgy of praise and thanksgiving (see verse 4). Finally, the hymn of a single voice is raised (see verse 5), which, in turn, involves in the singing the "great multitude" with which it began (see verses 6-7).
3. In future stages of our itinerary of prayer, we will have occasion to illustrate the individual antiphons of this grandiose and festive hymn of praise by diverse voices. Now we will content ourselves with two observations. The first refers to the opening acclamation which states: "Salvation, glory and might belong to our God, for true and just are his judgments" (verses 1-2).
At the heart of this joyful invocation is the representation of God's decisive intervention in history: The Lord is not indifferent, as an impassible and isolated emperor, before human vicissitudes. As the Psalmist says, "The Lord's throne is in heaven. God's eyes keep careful watch; they test all peoples" (Psalm 10:4).
4. What is more, his look is source of action, because he intervenes and demolishes the arrogant and oppressive empires, he pulls down the proud who defy him, he judges all those who commit evil. The Psalmist also describes with picturesque images (see Psalm 10:7) this irruption of God in history, as the author of the Book of Revelation had evoked in the preceding chapter (see Revelation 18:1-24) the terrible divine intervention in Babylon, uprooted from her center and flung into the sea. Our hymn makes reference to this intervention in a passage that is not taken up in the celebration of vespers (see Revelation 19:2-3).
Above all, therefore, our prayer should invoke and praise the divine action, the Lord's effective justice, his glory obtained with the triumph over evil. God makes himself present in history, placing himself on the side of the righteous and victims, precisely as stated in the brief and essential acclamation of the Book of Revelation and as repeated frequently in the singing of the Psalms (see Psalm 145:6-9).
5. We should highlight another topic of our canticle. It is developed from the final acclamation and is one of the dominant motives of the Book of Revelation itself: "For the wedding day of the Lamb has come, his bride has made herself ready" (Revelation 19:7). Christ and the Church, the Lamb and the bride, are in a profound communion of love.
We will try to have this mystical espousal shine through the poetic testimony of a great Father of the Syrian Church, St. Ephrem, who lived in the fourth century. Using symbolically the sign of the wedding of Cana (see John 2:1-11), he invites the city itself, personified, to praise Christ for the great gift received:
"Together with my guests I will thank him because he has judged me worthy to invite him: / He who is the heavenly Spouse, who descended and has invited all; / and I, too, was invited to enter his pure wedding feast. / Before the people I will acknowledge him as Spouse, there is none other like him. / His wedding chamber has been ready for centuries, and is furnished with riches and lacks nothing: / not like the feast of Cana, whose want he satisfied" ("Inni sulla verginitŕ," [Hymns on Virginity], 33,3: "L'arpa dello Spirito" [The Lyre of the Spirit], Rome, 1999, pp. 73-74).
6. In another hymn that he also dedicated to the wedding of Cana, St. Ephrem underlines how Christ, invited to others' weddings (specifically the spouses of Cana), wanted to celebrate the feast of his wedding: the wedding with his bride, which is every faithful soul. "Jesus, you were invited to the wedding feast of others, the spouses of Cana, / here, instead, it is your feast, pure and beautiful: It rejoices our days, / because your guests also, Lord, have need of your songs: Let your lyre fill everything! / The soul is your bride, the body is the nuptial chamber, / your guests are the senses and thoughts. / And if only one body is for you a wedding feast, / the whole Church is your nuptial banquet!" ("Inni sulla fede" [Hymns on the Faith], 14,4-5: op. cit., p. 27).
[At the end of the audience, the following summary was read in English. Then the Holy Father greeted English-speaking pilgrims as follows:]
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today's canticle, taken from the Book of Revelation, expresses the joy of the angels and saints in their heavenly liturgy of thanksgiving. God is praised because he intervenes to defeat the power of evildoers and to defend all victims of injustice. The canticle also celebrates the marriage of Christ the Lamb and the Church his bride. Some Fathers of the Church, such as St. Ephrem, applied this nuptial imagery of Christ's union with his Church to our individual souls.
I offer a warm welcome to all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today's audience, especially those from England, Ireland and the United States. Upon all of you I cordially invoke joy and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ.
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000
Canticle, Revelation, Pope John Paul II
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
- Mardi Gras' History in New Orleans HD Video
- 'Living Lent': Thursday after Ash Wednesday - Day 2
- Ash Wednesday HD Video
- King Richard III's detailed personal prayer book, 'Book of Hours.' is ...
- St. David: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, March 01, 2017
- Daily Readings for Wednesday, March 01, 2017
- 'Living Lent': Ash Wednesday - Day 1
- Daily Reading for Thursday, March 2nd, 2017 HD
- Living Lent HD
- An Ancient Lent Challenge: How to take Lent to the next level HD
- Mardi Gras' History in New Orleans HD
Slow Burning Virtual Prayer Candle
Your contribution helps to maintain this corner of Catholic ... @ $11.25
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.