Prayer Can Dissolve All Nightmares, John Paul II Says

Comments on Book of Daniel’s Canticle of Creatures

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, JULY 10, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Pray that is pure can dissolve all fears and nightmares, John Paul II said when commenting on the canticle of creatures found in the Book of Daniel.

“The harsh and violent pain of the trial disappears, it seems almost to dissolve in the presence of prayer and contemplation,” the Pope said in his address to today’s general audience, held at the papal summer residence.

“It is precisely this attitude of trusting abandonment that elicits divine intervention,” the Holy Father emphasized.

Continuing his series of meditations on the Psalms and Old Testament canticles, the Pontiff commented on the canticle of the three Hebrew youths — Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael — who were condemned to die in a burning furnace by the king of Babylon because of their faith.

In the midst of this tragedy, the trio did not “hesitate to sing, to be joyful and to praise,” John Paul II told the pilgrims gathered in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace here.

The Bible recounts that, in response to their prayer, the angel of the Lord came down into the furnace “and made the inside of the furnace as though a dew-laden breeze were blowing through it,” protecting the three youths from harm.

“The nightmares are dispersed like fog in the sun, the fears are dissolved, suffering disappears when the whole human being becomes praise and trust, expectation and hope,” the Pope continued.

“This is the force of prayer when it is pure, intense, total in its abandonment to God, provident and redeeming,” John Paul II added.

The youths’ canticle is an invitation to all creatures to praise the Lord: from the heavens, with the sun, moon and stars, to the mysterious depths of the waters. At the end, this invitation is also addressed to man, the Pope said.

The Holy Father added: “We must add our joyful and trusting voice to this concert of praise, coupled with a consistent and faithful life.”

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ZENIT Staff

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