Benedict XVI Highlights God's Loving Protection

Resumes Series of Commentaries Begun by John Paul II

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 4, 2005 ( God takes care of us lovingly at all times, Benedict XVI said during a commentary of a Psalm at the second general audience of his pontificate.

«All our activity, summarized in the two extreme verbs of ‘going out’ and ‘coming in’ is always under the Lord’s vigilant gaze, every act of ours and all our time, ‘both now and forever,'» the Pope said today in a commentary on Psalm 120(121).

The Holy Father appeared smiling and relaxed as he continued the series of meditations undertaken by Pope John Paul II on the Psalms and canticles of vespers, the evening prayer of the Church.

The passage he commented on «is a Psalm of trust,» Benedict XVI told the 15,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

«God, whose name is repeatedly invoked, emerges as the ‘keeper’ always awake, careful and solicitous, the ‘sentinel’ who watches over his people to protect them from every risk and danger,» he explained.

The Pope, putting his prepared text aside, contrasted the high places of the Bible where God dwells, with those that can be identified elsewhere with world pursuits such as «wealth, power, prestige and comfortable life; high places that are temptations, because they really appear as the promise of life.»

«But we, with our faith, know it’s not true, that these high places are not life,» the Holy Father said.

«True life, true help comes from the Lord and, during our pilgrimage, our gaze is directed to the authentic high place, to the true mountain: Christ,» he said spontaneously.

Psalm 120(121) presents God’s loving presence with three thought-provoking images, the Holy Father added, returning to his prepared text. The first is that of the keeper or sentinel, as the «Divine Shepherd does not rest in watching over his people.»

The second image proposed by the Psalm to explain divine protection is that of «shade,» which recalls the «march in the Sinai desert,» when the Lord went before Israel «in the daytime by means of a column of cloud to show them the way,» Benedict XVI said.

In the third image, the Lord appears «at the ‘right hand’ of his faithful one,» that is, he assumes «the position of the defender, both military as well as in a trial» to give us «the certainty of not being abandoned in the time of trial, of the assault of evil, of persecution.»

For the Pope, the believer’s conclusion is clear after contemplating this Psalm: «God will protect us with his love in every instant, keeping our life from all evil.»

Benedict XVI gave proof of his polyglot capacities. After reading his message in Italian, English, French, German, Spanish and Polish, he also greeted pilgrims in Lithuanian, Hungarian, Czech, Croatian and Slovak, eliciting applause from the groups of pilgrims of those countries.

During the two-hour meeting, on a sunny morning, the Holy Father was applauded numerous times.

He arrived in the famous open-air white jeep and spent much time, before beginning the audience, greeting and blessing some 50 sick persons who were on his right in the front rows.

Benedict XVI spoke from the papal chair, under a canopy that protected him from the hot sun, as John Paul II did.

At the end of the audience, he again greeted some pilgrims individually, kissed a number of infants whom their mothers brought to him, and joked with others present at the audience.

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