On Psalm 113(112)
"God Bends Over Needy and Suffering to Console"
VATICAN CITY, MAY 19, 2005 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of Benedict XVI's address at Wednesday's general audience, which he dedicated to a reflection on Psalm 113 (112), "Praise the Name of the Lord."
* * *
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Before we begin a brief interpretation of the Psalm we just heard, I would like to remind you that today is the birthday of our beloved John Paul II. He would have been 85 years old and we are certain that he sees us from on high and is with us. On this occasion we wish to say a profound thank you to the Lord for the gift of this Pope, and we wish to say thank you to the Pope himself for all that he did and suffered.
1. Psalm 112 has resounded in its simplicity and beauty, which serves as an introduction to the small collection of Psalms that goes from 112 to 117, conventionally called "the Egyptian Hallel." It is the alleluia, that is, the song of praise, which exalts the liberation from Pharaoh's slavery and the joy of Israel in serving the Lord in freedom in the Promised Land (cf. Psalm 112 (113)).
It was no accident that the Jewish tradition linked this series of Psalms to the paschal liturgy. The celebration of that event, according to its socio-historical and above all its spiritual dimensions, was regarded as a sign of liberation from evil in the multiplicity of its manifestations.
Psalm 112 is a brief hymn, which in the Hebrew original is made up of some sixty words, all suffused with sentiments of trust, praise, and joy.
2. The first stanza (cf. 1-3) exalts "the name of the Lord" that -- as is known -- in biblical language indicates the person of God himself, his living and acting presence in human history.
Thrice, with passionate intensity, resounds "the name of the Lord" at the heart of the prayer of adoration. All being and all time -- "from the rising of the sun to its setting," says the Psalmist (verse 3) -- is united in one act of thanksgiving. It is as if an incessant breath rises from the earth to heaven to exalt the Lord, creator of the cosmos and king of history.
3. Precisely through this movement toward the heavens, the Psalm leads us to the divine mystery. The second part (cf. 4-6) in fact, celebrates the Lord's transcendence, described with vertical images that go beyond the simple human horizon. It proclaims: the Lord "High above all nations," "enthroned on high," and no one can be his equal; he must even look "down" upon the heavens, because "his glory" is "above the heavens!" (4).
The divine gaze looks upon the whole of reality, on earthly and heavenly beings. Yet his look is not haughty and detached, as that of a cold emperor. The Lord -- says the Psalmist -- looks "down" (6).
4. We thus come to the Psalm's last movement (cf. 7-9), which shifts our attention from the heavenly heights to our earthly horizon. The Lord lowers himself with solicitude to our littleness and indigence which would impel us to withdraw in fear. He directs his loving gaze and efficacious commitment towards the least and miserable of the world: "The Lord raises the needy from the dust, lifts the poor from the ash heap" (7).
Thus God bends over the needy and the suffering to console them. And this expression finds its ultimate meaning, its greatest realism at the moment that God bends down to the point of becoming incarnate, to become like one of us, like one of the poor of the world. He confers the greatest honor on the poor, he "sits them with princes"; yes, "with the princes of the people" (8). To the lonely barren woman, humiliated by ancient society as if she were a dry and useless branch, God gives the honor and great joy of having several children (cf. 9). Therefore, the Psalmist praises a God who is very different from us in his greatness, but at the same time very close to his suffering creatures.
It is easy to intuit in these last verses of Psalm 112 the prefiguration of Mary's words in the "Magnificat," the canticle of God's chosen one who "regards the lowliness of his handmaid." More radical than our Psalm, Mary proclaims that God "has put down the mighty from their thrones, and has exalted the lowly" (cf. Luke 1:48,52, Psalm 112:6-8).
5. A very ancient "Evening Hymn," preserved in the "Constitutions of the Apostles" (VII, 48), takes up and develops our Psalm's joyful beginning. We recall it here, at the end of our reflection, to shed light on the Christian rereading that the early community made of the Psalms:
"Praise, children, the Lord, praise the name of the Lord.
We praise you, we sing to you, we bless you for your immense glory.
Lord king, Father of Christ spotless lamb, who takes away the sin of the world.
To you becomes praise, hymn, glory, to God the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit
now and forever. Amen"
(S. Pricoco and M. Simonetti, "La Preghiera dei Cristiani," (The Prayer of Christians), Milan, 2000, p. 97).
[At the end of the Audience, the Holy Father read the following summary in English:]
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Today's reflection is based upon Psalm 112. This beautiful hymn serves as an introduction to a group of Psalms which celebrate the liberation of the people of Israel from slavery. It also expresses the joy they find in serving the Lord in the Promised Land.
The phrase "the name of the Lord," meaning God himself, is repeated throughout the Psalm and becomes the heart of this prayer of adulation. Indeed, God's greatness requires our praise, and yet the "Most High" never fails to care for the poor and the needy of the world. "He raises the needy from the dust, lifts the poor from the ash heap" (Psalm 112:7).
This final phrase of the Psalm foreshadows Mary's words in the "Magnificat." Let us unite our prayer with hers as we praise God the Father, singing his glory, through the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.
[The Pope then greeted the pilgrims in several languages. In English, he said:]
In a special way I greet the Risho Kosei-kai Buddhist group from Gunmaota, Japan. I also extend a warm welcome to all the English-speaking pilgrims, particularly those from England, Indonesia, Canada and the United States of America. I pray that your time in Rome may be filled with grace and peace. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, I invoke God's blessing upon you and your loved ones.
https://www.catholic.org , VA
Pope Benedict XVI - Bishop of Rome, 661 869-1000
Psalm, God, Needy, Suffering, Pope, Benedict, Wednesday
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
- Pope Francis praises exorcisms while declaring Christian life a ...
- St. Zita: Saint of the Day for Friday, April 27, 2018
- Atheism promoting demonic possession
- Daily Readings for Friday, April 27, 2018
- Come Holy Spirit HD Video
- Herdsmen kill 19, including two priests in Nigeria
- Are we under attack? Pope Francis declares battle and praises ...
- Daily Reading for Saturday, April 28th, 2018 HD
- Little Miracle: Young boy dubbed 'super-human' after receiving life-saving operation HD
- St. Francis Prayer HD
- Prayer To St Michael For Personal Protection 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
Teacher lesson plans & resources
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education