Prayer Puts Power in Perspective, Pope Says

«Everything Is Grace»

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 6, 2001 ( Prayer helps people see worldly power and wealth in a new light, says John Paul II, who noted that for Christians «everything is grace.»

At today´s general audience, attended by 15,000 pilgrims in St. Peter´s Square, the Holy Father offered a meditation on a canticle in the First Book of the Chronicles (29:10). He spoke of «the great temptation that is always lurking, when works are carried out for the Lord.»

Thus the Pope continued his series of meditations on the Psalms and canticles of the Old Testament which mark the rhythm of prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours.

John Paul II described wealth and power as «a universal temptation.» When man loses sight of God, the Holy Father noted, he can «act as if he were absolute arbiter of what he possessed, to make it a source of pride and of abuse toward others.»

The prayer in the canticle, in contrast, «refers man to his state as ´a poor one,´ who receives everything,» the Pope said.

In prayer, he said, man understands his smallness and God´s greatness. The People of Israel, the Pope added, express that greatness in the Bible with words that «pile up, in a kind of mystical pursuit: greatness, power, glory, majesty, splendor, and then, again, force and power.»

«Everything that man experiences as beautiful and great must be referred to him who is the origin of everything and governs all,» the Holy Father said.

The Pope pointed to an Old Testament model: «David expresses the profound truth that everything is grace.» Moreover, he added, «David credits the Lord with everything that has constituted his fortune, either in the military or the political and economic field. Everything comes from him!»

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