Fruitful Society Has Need of God and Children, Says Pope

Comments on Psalm 126(127) at General Audience

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VATICAN CITY, AUG. 31, 2005 ( To find meaning and to be fruitful, society needs God and children, says Benedict XVI.

“A solid society is born, indeed, from the commitment of all its members, but it has need of the blessing and support of that God who, unfortunately, is often excluded and ignored,” lamented the Pope, during his address at today’s general audience.

Some 11,000 faithful, gathered in St. Peter’s Square, heard the Holy Father, on a humid morning, after first being greeted by him from an open car.

The Bishop of Rome dedicated his catechesis to reflect on Psalm 126(127), which begins: “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build.”

The psalm describes the daily life of the family and the citizenry, basing it on a contrast the Holy Father himself highlighted: “Without the Lord, in vain does one seek to erect a stable house, to build a secure city, to have one’s labor fructify.”

“With the Lord, instead, one has prosperity and fruitfulness, a family rich in children and serene, a city well supplied and defended, free from constant worry and insecurity,” Benedict XVI added.

The psalmist “does not hesitate to affirm that all this labor is useless if God is not beside the one who labors,” noted the Pope. “And he affirms, on the contrary, that God even rewards his friends’ sleep.

“In serene and faithful abandonment of our freedom to the Lord, our works also become solid, capable of lasting fruit. So our ‘sleep’ becomes a blessed, God-given rest, destined to seal an activity that has meaning and consistency.”

Life-bearing gift

The second part of the psalm, on which the Pope reflected, presents children as a blessing of happiness from God, based on an image of Jewish culture at the time the psalm was written.

“Procreation is, therefore, a gift bearing life and well-being for society,” the Holy Father said. “We are aware of it in our days in the face of nations that are deprived, by the demographic loss, of freshness, vitality and the future incarnated in children.

“Over all, however, rises the blessed presence of God, source of life and hope.”

With this meditation, the Holy Father continued with a series of commentaries on the psalms and canticles of the Bible that are used in the Liturgy of the Hours. Others are posted at

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