God Upholds the Humble of Heart, John Paul II Says

Comments on Psalm 146 [147] at Wednesday's General Audience

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 23, 2003 (Zenit.org).- God lets himself be conquered by the humble, he rejects the arrogance of the proud, John Paul II said.



The Holy Father reflected on Psalm 146 [147] with the 2,500 pilgrims gathered today for the general audience in the courtyard of the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, where he is spending his holidays.

The poetic composition of the Old Testament presents God "as a father who bends over the interior and physical wounds" of the human being.

"We are not abandoned to ourselves and to cosmic energies, but are always in the hands of the Lord, in keeping with his plan of salvation," the Pope said when contemplating this image of God.

The Holy Father then quoted a commentary of this Psalm delivered by St. Augustine in Carthage in 412: "The Lord heals him who has a broken heart. Whoever does not have a broken heart cannot be healed ... Who are those with a broken heart? The humble. And those who do not have broken hearts? The proud" (Expositions on the Psalms -- Esposizioni sui Salmi --, IV, Rome, 1977, pp. 772-779).

God, "who surrounds the poor with tenderness and care, appears as a severe judge when confronting the wicked. The Lord of history is not indifferent before the rage of the arrogant who think they are the only arbiters of human affairs: God brings down to the dust of the earth those who defy heaven with their pride," the Pope said.

The Psalm ends showing the Lord bending over the righteous and humble. In this way, it underlines again "the Lord's logic," which "ignores the pride and arrogance of the powerful."

God "places himself on the side of the one who is faithful" and who "hopes in his steadfast love,' that is, "who is abandoned to God's guidance in his acting and thinking, in his plans and in his daily life," the Holy Father continued.

The hope of the believer is based on God's grace, "certain of being enveloped in the mantle of divine love."

Thus John Paul II continued with the series of weekly meditations he has been offering since March 28, 2001. These may be read in the "Wednesday's Audience" section of ZENIT's web page (http://www.zenit.org/english/audience/).