Gratitude to God Aids in Self-Understanding, Says Pope

Commentary on Psalm 147 at General Audience

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 5, 2002 ( People can only understand themselves fully when they are grateful to God for his creation, action in history, and especially, his Revelation, which finds its fulfillment in the Bible, says John Paul II.

This was part of the Pope´s message at today´s general audience, when he addressed 12,000 pilgrims in St. Peter´s Square. He dedicated the audience to a reflection on Psalm 147, a hymn of thanksgiving to God. It was the latest in a series of general-audience meditations on the Psalms and Old Testament canticles.

He began with a reflection on God´s work in the life of every man and woman, what he called an action of «protection and support.»

God intervenes to offer «the most high and precious gift of peace,» which «is not a negative concept, evoking the absence of war, but a positive fact of well-being and prosperity,» the Holy Father stressed.

Psalm 147 also expresses thanksgiving to God for creation, which is not an isolated act that occurred a long time ago, but a continuous creative act through his Word, John Paul II said.

There is a third decisive reason for thanking God — the possibility of discovering his loving action and creation thanks to his Revelation, the Pope said.

God has two ways of revealing himself: «one inscribed in nature itself and open to all; the other given to the Chosen People, who must witness and communicate it to the whole of humanity and which is contained in sacred Scripture,» John Paul II explained.

«The Bible, therefore, is the treasure of the Chosen People, who must approach it with love and adhere to it faithfully,» he said.

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