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Vaticano

2003-05-15

VATICAN - THE POPE AT GENERAL AUDIENCE SAYS: THE SACRIFICE MOST PRECIOUS AND ACCEPTABLE TO THE LORD IS A CONTRITE HEART AND HUMBLE SPIRIT

During the general audience on Wednesday 14 May, held in St Peter’s Square, Pope John Paul II resumed his teaching on the Psalms used in Morning and Evening Prayer of the Church, commenting the Canticle in Daniel 3,26-27.29.34-41. Azariah’s “prayer in the furnace”. This canticle is a prayer to the Lord, the voice of the People of Israel who are living the hard trial of exile. The canticle is sung by Azariah who with two other Jews “is in amidst the fire, as a martyr ready to face death rather than betray his conscience and his faith. He is condemned to death for refusing to adore the imperial statue”.
“Persecution is considered by this Canticle as a rightful punishment with which God purifies the sinful people” said the Holy Father. “Certainly, the point of departure is bitter, desolation is great, the trial is heavy, divine judgement of the people’s sin severe” but in the tragic situation of the present “hope searches for its roots in the past, that is in the promises made to the fathers. They go back to Abraha, Isaac and Jacob to whom God promised blessings
Vatican City (Fides Service) – During the general audience on Wednesday 14 May, held in St Peter’s Square, Pope John Paul II resumed his teaching on the Psalms used in Morning and Evening Prayer of the Church, commenting the Canticle in Daniel 3,26-27.29.34-41. Azariah’s “prayer in the furnace”. This canticle is a prayer to the Lord, the voice of the People of Israel who are living the hard trial of exile. The canticle is sung by Azariah who with two other Jews “is in amidst the fire, as a martyr ready to face death rather than betray his conscience and his faith. He is condemned to death for refusing to adore the imperial statue”.
“Persecution is considered by this Canticle as a rightful punishment with which God purifies the sinful people” said the Holy Father. “Certainly, the point of departure is bitter, desolation is great, the trial is heavy, divine judgement of the people’s sin severe” but in the tragic situation of the present “hope searches for its roots in the past, that is in the promises made to the fathers. They go back to Abraha, Isaac and Jacob to whom God promised blessings and fecundity, land and greatness, life and peace. God is faithful he never goes back on his word. Although justice demands that Israel be punished for her deeds, there remains the certainty that the final word will be one of mercy and forgiveness”.
“One who prays approaches the Lord with the most precious and acceptable sacrifice: contrite heart and humble spirit. This is the centre of human existence, the “I” renewed by testing which is offered to God that he may accept it as a sign of conversion and consecration to goodness. With this inward disposition, fear ceases, confusion and shame are extinguished, and the spirit opens to confidence in a better future, when the promises made to the fathers will be fulfilled.” SL(Fides Service 15/5/2003 EM lines 22 Words: 338)

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