VATICAN CITY, MARCH 10, 2004 ( John Paul II urged Christians not to allow themselves to be seduced by the attraction of violence.

The Pope delivered that message today when offering a meditation on Psalm 19(20) at the general audience, in Paul VI Hall. It was part of his ongoing series of meditation on Psalms that comprise the liturgy of vespers, the Church's evening prayer.

The Psalm is a poetic passage in which the people of Israel thank God for having saved them from their enemies, despite the latter's military superiority.

"Despite its historical character connected to war," the Holy Father said, "the Psalm can become an invitation to not allow oneself ever to be captured by the attraction of violence."

"In the face of all kinds of violence, the just man opposes with faith, kindness, forgiveness, the offer of peace," he said.

Quoting the early Church historian Eusebius of Cesarean, the Pope said the baptized person knows that he can even conquer death "by the power of Christ."

The Pontiff explained that Christ "does not come into the world with armies, but with the power of the Holy Spirit, and launches the final attack against evil and prevarication, against arrogance and pride, against lies and egoism."

"The Lord is the source of security," John Paul II said. "The Word of God is not presented as an abstract message, but as a voice that adapts itself to the small and great miseries of humanity."

The Holy Father greeted pilgrims in nine languages. At the end, he addressed a special greeting to young people, to the sick, and to newlyweds, present in the audience hall.

"May the Lenten journey we have undertaken lead you, dear young people, to ever more conscious faith in Christ; may hope in Christ crucified, who supports us in trials, increase in you; may he help you, dear newlyweds, to make your family life a mission of faithful and generous love," he said.

Other papal meditations related to the Psalms and canticles of vespers may be consulted in the Wednesday's Audience section of ZENIT's Web page.