Suffering Is Understood in Light of Eternity, Pope Says

God Fully Explains Good and Evil, John Paul II Tells General Audience

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 12, 2002 (Zenit.org).- To fully understand pain and suffering, it is necessary to see them with the eyes of God, says John Paul II.



Addressing some 8,000 pilgrims at today´s general audience in Paul VI Hall, the Pope commented on Psalm 91(92) and explained: "Human suffering must be considered in the perspective of eternity."

The Holy Father was continuing his series of meditations on the Psalms and Old Testament canticles that have become part of the daily prayer of Christians.

Psalm 91(92) presents two opposing figures: the righteous and the wicked. The latter, the Psalmist says, seems to sprout like the grass, but he will be destroyed, John Paul II noted.

"At the root of this catastrophic outcome is the profound evil that grips the mind and heart of the wicked," the Pope explained.

"A senseless person cannot know this; a fool cannot comprehend," the Pope added, quoting the Psalm. And the Psalm does not hesitate to use adjectives denoting "brutality, blindness, foolishness of the one who thinks he can rage over the face of the earth without moral consequences, deceiving himself that God is absent and indifferent," the Holy Father added.

"Instead, the man of prayer is certain that, sooner or later, the Lord will appear on the horizon to establish justice and break the arrogance of the foolish," the Pope continued.

This is the reason why "only in the divine light is one able to understand the depth of good and evil, of righteousness and wickedness," John Paul II stressed.

"Psalm 91, therefore, is an optimistic hymn," the Pope concluded. "It celebrates trust in God who is the source of serenity and peace, even when one witnesses the apparent success of the wicked."

On hand at the audience were about 2,000 Poles. There was also a group of Anglicans from England, and representatives from the Buddhist Rissho Kosei-kai movement of Japan.