Addressing 10,000 people gathered at today's general audience in St. Peter's Square, the Pope commented on the canticle of the "wedding day of the Lamb" in Revelation 19. The canticle appears in the liturgy of vespers, the Church's evening prayer.
The poetic passage, sprinkled with repeated "Alleluias," is intoned, according to the Scriptures, by "all the elect, who celebrate the Lord in joy and festivity."
By repeating this canticle in the liturgy of vespers, "the Church, on earth, marks the rhythm of her song of praise with that of the just who already contemplate the glory of God," the Holy Father explained.
"Thus a channel of communication is established between history and eternity," he said. "It has its starting point in the earthly liturgy of the ecclesial community and has its end in the heavenly, where our brothers and sisters have already arrived who have preceded us on the way of faith."
"In this communion of praise," between believers on earth and the saved in heaven, the canticle presents three topics, which became the guidelines of the Pontiff's commentary.
"First of all, the great characteristics of God, his 'salvation,' 'glory' and 'power,' namely, transcendence and saving omnipotence," the Pope said. "Prayer is contemplation of the divine glory of the ineffable mystery, of the ocean of light and love that is God."
"In the second place, the canticle exalts the Kingdom of the Lord, namely, the divine plan of redemption of the human race," he continued.
History, the Holy Father said, "is entrusted to human freedom, which generates good and evil, but it has its ultimate seal in the decisions of Divine Providence."
"The Book of Revelation celebrates precisely the end toward which history is led through the effective work of God, despite the storms, wounds and devastations caused by evil, man and Satan," he added.
The third topic of the canticle illustrated by the Pope was the image of "the wedding day of the Lamb."
The "definitive end toward which the last book of the Bible leads us is the nuptial meeting between the Angel, who is Christ, and the purified and transfigured bride, which is redeemed humanity," he indicated.
"The expression 'the wedding day of the Lamb has come' refers to the supreme moment ... of the intimacy between the creature and the Creator, in the joy of peace and salvation," the Holy Father said.
Other commentaries of John Paul II on the canticles and Psalms of vespers appear in the Wednesday's Audience (section of ZENIT's Web page.