VATICAN CITY, JUNE 16, 2004 ( In the midst of catastrophes and wars, the believer knows that God does not abandon him, says John Paul II.

The Pope expressed this today in the midweek general audience during which he reflected on Psalm 45(46).

The poetic composition, the Holy Father explained to a crowd of 10,000 gathered in St. Peter's Square, "above all expresses an unbreakable confidence in God," who is "our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress."

"The Psalm evokes the most terrible upheavals to affirm the force of the victorious intervention of God, who gives full security," John Paul II said.

He added that the Lord is the "source of confidence, because the whole world and all its affairs are under the supreme governance" of him.

"This Lord, therefore, is 'with us,'" with "an implicit reference to Emmanuel, 'God-with-us,'" of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke, the Pope said.

God also responds to human beings in their longing for peace, the Pope continued, as he reflected on the last part of the biblical hymn. He explained that God "stops wars to the ends of the earth, breaks the bow, splinters the spear, and burns the shields with fire."

This allusion, which reminds us of another of the prophet Isaiah (2:4), constitutes a song at the end "of the race of armaments and the transformation of warlike instruments of death into means for the development of peoples," the Holy Father said.

He echoed a line from Isaiah: "They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again."

In this expression, the Holy Father added, Christian tradition has seen a reference to Christ, "our peace" and "our liberator from evil through his death and resurrection."

The Pope's address was part of his ongoing series of meditations on the Psalms and canticles of the Liturgy of Vespers, the Church's evening prayer. Other meditations may be consulted in the Wednesday's Audience section of ZENIT's Web page.