God Is Source of Peace in a Society Keen on Success, Says Pope
Consistency of Believer Can Lead to Contempt, He Notes
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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 21, 2004 (Zenit.org).- In a society obsessed by "external success" the believer might experience isolation or contempt, but he doesn't lose his interior peace because he trusts in God, says John Paul II.
The Pope explained this today to the 20,000 people attending the general audience in St. Peter's Square. The papal address was a reflection on the first part of Psalm 26(27), which begins "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom do I fear?"
"The life of the believer is often subjected to tensions and disputes, at times also to rejection and even to persecution," the Holy Father said. "The conduct of the just man is irritating, because it resounds as a warning to the arrogant and perverse."
"The faithful one knows that consistency creates isolation and even stirs contempt and hostility in a society that often chooses as its banner personal advantage, external success, wealth, unbridled pleasure," the Pope continued.
"Yet he is not alone and his heart retains an amazing interior peace, because -- as the splendid opening antiphon of the Psalm says -- 'The Lord is my light and my salvation, [...] refuge' of the just man. He repeats continuously: 'Whom do I fear? ... Of whom am I afraid? ... My heart does not fear ... even then do I trust,'" he said.
John Paul II said the poetic composition of the Old Testament recalls St. Paul's words in the Letter to the Romans: "If God is for us, who can be against us?"
"Interior quiet, strength of spirit and peace are a gift that is obtained by taking refuge in the temple, that is, by taking recourse to personal and community prayer," the Pope said.
When the believer prays, he "entrusts himself to the arms of God" to "contemplate and admire the divine mystery, to participate in the sacrificial liturgy and to raise his praises to the liberating God," he added.
"The Lord creates around his faithful one a horizon of peace, which excludes the noise of evil. Communion with God is the source of serenity, joy, tranquility; it is like entering an oasis of light and love," the Pope concluded.
The Holy Father was continuing his series of addresses on the liturgy of vespers, the evening prayer of the Church. Other catecheses appear in the Wednesday's Audience section of ZENIT's Web page.