Christians Urged to Begin Day with Certainty of God´s Merciful Love

John Paul II Focuses on Crossing of the Red Sea

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 21, 2001 ( John Paul II invited Christians to begin their day with a «quiver of praise» in the certainty of being «enveloped by the merciful gaze of God.»

The Pontiff made this proposal during the weekly general audience, when he reflected on the hymn the people of Israel raised to God after they were delivered from Pharaoh´s army.

Thus John Paul II continued his yearlong series of meditations on the Psalms and hymns of the Old Testament which became part of the Christians´ Liturgy of the Hours.

The close to 7,000 pilgrims gathered in Paul VI Hall heard the Pope´s address, which touched on the crossing of the Red Sea by the Chosen People.

«These are strong images, which attempt to describe the greatness of God, while expressing the wonder of a people who can scarcely believe their eyes, and break out with one voice in a moving song: ´My strength and my courage is the Lord, and he has been my savior. He is my God,´» the Bishop of Rome said.

«This event was not only at the base of the covenant between God and his people, but became a ´symbol´ of the whole history of salvation,» the Holy Father continued.

In fact, it prefigured «the great deliverance that Christ will bring about through his death and resurrection.» In Jesus, the Pope added, «we were saved not from a human oppressor, but from that slavery to Satan and sin, which since the beginning weighs on the destiny of humanity.»

«With [Christ], humanity takes up the road again, on the path that leads us back to the Father´s house,» the Pope emphasized.

In proposing to Christians this prayer of the Jewish people, the Pope invited them to «see our day in the great horizon of the history of salvation.»

«This is the Christian way of perceiving the passage of time. In the accumulation of passing days, there is no fatality that oppresses us, but a plan that goes unfolding, and that our eyes must learn to read with discernment,» the Holy Father continued.

Hence, the «hymn of victory does not express the triumph of man, but the triumph of God. It is not a song of war, but a song of love,» the Pope clarified.

«Allowing our days to be pervaded by this quiver of praise of the ancient Hebrews, we walk on the roads of the world, full of deceptions, risks and suffering, with the certainty of being enveloped by the merciful gaze of God,» the Pope concluded. «Nothing can resist the power of his love.»

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