At the End of History Is God´s Embrace, Pope Affirms

Reflects on Psalm 42(43) During General Audience

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 6, 2002 ( The end of history is not the abyss of death, but rather God´s embrace, John Paul II said during today´s general audience.

The Holy Father was echoing the cry of despair raised in the Psalm 42(43): «Why then do you spurn me? Why must I go about mourning, with my enemy oppressing me?»

Commenting on these words of the Psalm, the Pontiff noted the «loneliness of incomprehension and even of aggression» that every individual might feel, «aggravated by the isolation and silence on the part of God.»

The point of the catechesis that the Pope addressed to 5,000 faithful in Paul VI Hall was the slow search leading to the discovery that «the end point of history is not an abyss of death, but rather a saving encounter with God.»

To arrive at this conviction, the Holy Father said, Psalm 42(43) reveals that the Lord sends two messengers «to take the faithful one by the hand and lead him toward the desired goal»: «the return to the source of life and of communion with God.»

The first messenger is «truth,» namely, «the loving fidelity of the Lord.» The other is «light,» that is, «the revelation of his goodness.»

The return to God is described by the Psalmist stage by stage, taking the image of the Israelite who returns to Jerusalem, after years of suffering and separation. The first thing he sees is «the holy hill.» Then he sees «the dwellings,» until he finally reaches «the altar of God.»

«The last and decisive goal is the God of joy, the embrace, the intimate encounter with him, who at first was so distant and silent,» the Pope said. At this point, «everything becomes song, gladness, celebration,» he added.

Since last year the Holy Father has dedicated his general-audience addresses to meditations on the Psalms and Old Testament canticles which also form part of the Liturgy of the Hours.

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