VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 5, 2001 (Zenit.org).- God´s seemingly contradictory aspects of being “great and terrible,” yet near and tender, were the central point of John Paul II´s meditation at today´s general audience.
To analyze the interplay between these two extremes, the Pope referred to Psalm 46(47) in his meditation before 23,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter´s Square.
The meditation was a continuation of the reflections the Pope has offered at his Wednesday general audiences this year, on the canticles and hymns of the Liturgy of the Hours.
The two extremes of the experience of God are “like two waves of the sea flowing toward the shore,” John Paul II explained.
In this Psalm, the believer perceives “the grandiose figure of the supreme Lord,” to whom are attributed the titles “great and terrible,” the Pope said.
At this moment, the psalmist exalts “the divine transcendence, the absolute primacy of being, omnipotence,” the Holy Father added.
On the other hand, the psalmist perceives the tender predilection of God for Israel, his chosen people, the Pope said: “Thus, the distant and transcendent, holy, and infinite God, comes close to his creatures, adapting himself to space and time.”
In Christ, the infinite greatness of God and his tender love for man converge, thus fulfilling the Old Testament prophecy according to which all peoples will gather “to meet this king of peace and love, of unity and brotherhood,” the Holy Father continued.
“As the prophet Isaiah hoped, in the midst of their hostilities, the peoples will receive the invitation to lay down their arms and to live together under the one divine sovereignty, under the good government of justice and peace,” the Pope concluded.