Pope Highlights Strength of Prayer in Times of Difficulty

Reflects on Psalm 140(141) at General Audience

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 5, 2003 (Zenit.org).- In times of difficulty, a believer's strength lies in prayer, knowing that God is just, says John Paul II.



The Pope delivered that message today in a frail voice as read his address at the general audience, held in St. Peter's Square. The audience ended with the encouraging applause of 20,000 pilgrims. "Pray for me," the Holy Father said at the end of the audience.

John Paul II was continuing a series of catecheses he has been offering in recent weeks on the liturgy of vespers, the evening prayer of the Church. He already spent two years on lauds, or morning prayer.

From now on the Pope will meditate on the Psalms and Canticles of the liturgy of the end of the day, as proposed by the reforms that followed in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, "poetic prayers, which God has sealed with his inspiration."

"They are the invocations which the Lord himself desires should be addressed to him. He loves to listen to them, hearing in them the vibrations of the hearts of his beloved children," he explained.

On this occasion, the Holy Father reflected on Psalm 140(141), "prayer when in danger," which starts with a dramatic invocation: "Lord, I call to you; come quickly to help me; listen to my plea when I call."

"Hands raised in prayer are a bridge of communication with God, as is the smoke that rises as sweet odor from the victim during the sacrificial rite of the evening," the Pope continued.

The Psalm "is a hymn of faith, of gratitude and of joy, in the certainty that the faithful one will not be engulfed in the hatred that the perverse are reserving for him and will not fall into the trap they set for him, after having noted his decided choice of the good," the Holy Father added.

Thus, in his supplication, the believer expresses "hostility to evil, the choice of the good, and the certainty that God intervenes in history with his judgment of severe condemnation of injustice," the Pope said.

He skipped some of the paragraphs of the address he had prepared, but was able to greet pilgrims in six languages.

After the audience, the Holy Father spent 50 minutes greeting the faithful and posing for group photographs.