VATICAN CITY, MAY 5, 2004 ( A believer knows that he is not "a useless speck of dust" lost in the universe, but part of a plan of God's love, says John Paul II.

The Pope made that point in his address at today's general audience, which he dedicated to comment on the canticle to Christ in the first chapter of St. Paul's Letter to the Colossians.

"The hymn paints a wonderful picture of the universe and of history, inviting us to trust," the Holy Father told the crowd of 12,000 gathered in St. Peter's Square.

"We are not a useless speck of dust, lost in space and time without meaning, but we are part of a wise plan that stems from the love of the Father," he said.

In presenting Christ as "Lord of the cosmos" because all things were made through him, St. Paul shows how "a transcendent plan unfolds in the universe which reveals that God acts through the work of his Son," John Paul II said.

"Matter with its energy, life and light bear the imprint of the Word of God, 'his beloved Son,'" the Pontiff explained, relating this passage to the opening of John's Gospel.

The lordship of the Son of God over the cosmos sheds new light on the words of Wisdom 13:5, when it states that "from the greatness and the beauty of created things their original author, by analogy, is seen."

The other dimension of Christ presented in the canticle is that of "Lord of the history of salvation, which is manifested in the Church and is accomplished by the 'blood of his cross,' source of peace and harmony for all human history," the Pope said.

"Therefore, not only the horizon that is external to our existence is marked by the efficacious presence of Christ, but also the more specific reality of the human creature, namely, history," the Holy Father added.

History "is not at the mercy of blind and irrational forces; instead, despite evil and sin, it is ruled and oriented -- by the work of Christ -- toward fullness," he said. "Through the Cross of Christ, the whole of reality is reconciled with the Father."

The Pope was continuing his reflections on the canticles and Psalms of the Liturgy of Vespers, the Church's evening prayer. Related addresses may be consulted in the Wednesday's Audience section of ZENIT's Web page.