God Chooses the Weak, Pope Says

Points to the Lesson of Judith, a Woman of Faith

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VATICAN CITY, AUG. 29, 2001 (Zenit.org).- God chooses the fragile and weak to manifest his divine power to those who trust him, especially in moments when all seems lost, John Paul II says.

This was the Holy Father´s conclusion at the midweek general audience, when he referred to biblical episodes such as the violent end of Holofernes. The greatly feared general of Assyrian King Nebuchadnezzar, who had all but crushed the people of Israel, was charmed and killed by the young Judith.

Before a crowd of 8,000 pilgrims in St. Peter´s Square, the Pope reflected on Judith´s story and focused on the song of praise attributed in the Bible to this beautiful Jewish heroine, a song that the Liturgy of the Church includes in lauds. The Holy Father was continuing his series of general-audience meditations on the Psalms and canticles of the Old Testament.

Judith´s most important lesson, the Pope emphasized, is the need to trust in God.

The «powerful of the earth» are not the real enemy, but «infidelity to the Lord,» the Pope emphasized. Infidelity deprives man of God´s protection and makes him vulnerable, John Paul II said.

In fact, in this biblical passage from the Book of Judith, «God´s work emerges all the more luminous, inasmuch as he does not turn to a warrior or an army. … [He] makes use again of an unarmed woman to come to the aid of the people in difficulty.»

Thus, the Holy Father pointed out, the «figure of Judith became the archetype that would permit not only the Jewish but also the Christian tradition to emphasize God´s preference for that which is considered fragile and weak.»

Moreover, the Pope highlighted the fact that the liturgy attributes expressions of Judith to Mary herself.

Indeed, Judith is «an exemplary figure who expresses the vocation and mission of woman, called like man, according to her specific characteristics, to play a significant role in God´s plan,» he said. «God offers his invincible power to sustain those who are faithful.»

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