VATICAN CITY, JULY 21, 2004 ( Fulfilling the will of God is the strength of the believer, says John Paul II.

"On this path he will find peace of soul and will succeed in going through the dark tangle of trials, attaining true joy," the Pope said today during his address at the general audience.

His holiday in the Italian Alps over, the Holy Father left the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo this morning to attend the audience in Paul VI Hall and greet pilgrims.

John Paul II has been giving reflections on the canticles and Psalms used in the Church's liturgy of vespers, its evening prayer. Today he focused his reflection on the 14th strophe of lengthy Psalm 118(119), which begins with the phrase "Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path."

"Man penetrates the often-dark path of life, but all of a sudden the darkness is rent by the splendor of the Word of God," the Pope said.

"Christ himself will present his person as the definitive revelation precisely with the same image: 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life,'" the Holy Father continued.

The Psalm goes on to evoke the sufferings and dangers of life, which leave the man at prayer with a dark sensation when he says, "The wicked have set snares for me."

"The faithful one knows that he journeys through the roads of the world in the midst of dangers, anxieties and persecutions; he knows that trials always lie in ambush. For his part, the Christian knows that he must carry the cross every day and ascend to Calvary," the Holy Father emphasized.

"Yet, the just man keeps his faithfulness intact," he explained. "Peace of mind is the strength of the believer, his constancy, in obedience to the divine commandments, is the source of his serenity."

John Paul II concluded quoting St. Augustine's commentary on the Psalm, who wonders why God exhorts mankind to happiness in this biblical passage, when it is the most profound desire of every human being.

"Is it not, perhaps, because although all aspire to blessedness, the majority, however, do not know how to attain it?" the bishop of Hippo asked. He answered that the path "is none other than the Law of the Lord."

John Paul II's previous commentaries on the Psalms and canticles of vespers may be read in the Wednesday's Audience section of ZENIT's Web page.