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Vaticano

2003-11-05

VATICAN - THE POPE’S GENERAL AUDIENCE TEACHING: PRAYER WITH A PURE AND SINCERE HEART IS A SACRIFICE OFFERED TO GOD. THE WHOLE BEING OF THE PERSON WHO PRAYS BECOMES A SACRIFICIAL ACT. HANDS RAISED IN PRAYER ARE A BRIDGE OF COMMUNICATION WITH GOD

Vatican City (Fides Service) – Addressing thousands of visitors gathered in St Peter’s Square for the Audience on Wednesday, November 5 Pope John Paul II gave his teaching on Psalm 140 (1-9): . “In our previous reflections we looked at the structure and value of the Liturgy of Vespers – the Pope said -. Now we will go deeper. This will be like a pilgrimage to that sort of ‘holy land’ composed of psalms and canticles…we will begin with psalm 140 which opens Sunday Vespers of the first of the four weeks in which, since the Council, the Church’s evening prayer is articulated.”
The Pope explained that the second verse of the psalm can be considered “the distinctive sign of the entire chant and the obvious justification of the fact that it was included in the Liturgy of Vespers. The idea expressed reflects the spirit of prophetic theology which unites intimately worship with life, prayer to human existence. Prayer made with a pure and sincere heart becomes a sacrifice offered to God. The whole being of the person becomes a sacrificial act…hands raised in prayer are a bridge of communication with God, like the smoke rising with a sweet odour from the victim during the evening sacrifice.”
The Psalm then assumes a tone of supplication. The praying person begs the Lord to “prevent lips and the feelings of the heart to be attracted or hampered by evil and lead him to carry out «evil acts» he then says firmly that he refuses all complicity with the wicked man”. “To express more vehemently his radical disassociation from the sinner the psalmist proclaims in the latter’s regard indignant condemnation, expressed with recourse to vivid images of vehement judgement.” The psalm closes with “a song of faith, gratitude and joy in the certainty that the believer will never be involved in the hatred reserved for him by the perverse nor will he fall into the snare they tend, after seeing his decision for good ”. S.L.) (Fides Service 5/11/2003 – lines 26; words 388)

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