Music Brings Pope to Reflect on God's Fidelity

Evil Weighs Heavy, He Admits, But God Does Not Abandon

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 29, 2011 ( Though mankind feels the weight of the evil that exists in the world, God does not abandon us. He never betrays and never forgets, Benedict XVI says.

The Pope made this reflection Friday after a concert offered in his honor by the president of Hungary, Pál Schmitt. The concert marked the Hungarian presidency of the Council of the European Union and the bicentenary of the birth of the Hungarian musician Ferenc Liszt.

The Holy Father offered various reflections on the music, pausing in particular to speak about the setting of Psalm 13.

He said the passage performed during the concert gave «an idea of the quality and depth of [the composer’s] faith.»

«It is a Psalm in which the one at prayer finds himself in difficulty: the enemy surrounds him, assails him, and God seems absent, he seems to have forgotten him,» the Pontiff explained. «And the prayer becomes anguished in face of this situation of abandonment: ‘Until when, Lord?’ the Psalmist repeats four times.»

The Holy Father noted how this refrain is «repeated almost in a hammering way by the tenor and the choir in the passage heard: it is the cry of man and of humanity, which feels the weight of the evil that exists in the world.»

The music, he said, «transmitted to us this sense of weight, of anguish. But God does not abandon. The Psalmist knows it and also Liszt, as a man of faith, knows it.»

«From anguish is born a prayer full of trust that leads to joy: ‘My heart will exult in your salvation … I will sing to the Lord, who has helped me,'» Benedict XVI quoted.

He noted how at this proclamation, the music is transformed: «tenor, choir and orchestra raise a hymn full of trust in God, who never betrays, never forgets, never leaves us alone.»

Citing the composer’s reflection in regard to his Missa Solemnis, which Liszt said he «prayed» more than «composed,» the Pope observed: «I think we can say the same of this Psalm: The great Hungarian musician prayed it more than he composed it, or better he prayed it before composing it.»

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