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Monday, December 19, 2005

Psalm 138: Meditating on God, Transcendent and Near

Vatican Information Service

In last Wednesday's general audience, celebrated in St. Peter's Square, 18,000 people gathered to hear the Pope's catechesis on Psalm 138, "God sees all."

"The meditation of the psalmist," said Benedict XVI, "seeks, above all, to penetrate the mystery of God, Who is transcendent yet near to us."

The Pope explained: "The message we are offered is straightforward: God knows everything and is present with His creation, which cannot detach itself from Him. Nevertheless, His presence is not menacing or inquisitive, though of course He looks severely on evil, to which He cannot remain indifferent.

"Nonetheless, the fundamental element is a saving presence, one capable of embracing the totality of both existence and history. This is the spiritual context to which St. Paul refers, when speaking at the Areopagus of Athens, by alluding to a Greek poet: 'In Him we live and move and have our being'."

Benedict XVI pointed out how the first part of the psalm celebrates divine omniscience, using verbs associated with the idea of knowledge. However, he went on, "biblical knowledge is superior to plain and simple intellectual knowledge; it is a kind of communion between the knower and the known: the Lord is close to us, while we think and act."

"The psalmist then introduces the other reality in which we are immersed: time, symbolically represented by night and day. Even darkness, where it is difficult to walk and to see, is penetrated by the epiphany and the gaze of the Lord of being and time. His hand is always ready to take ours to guide us along our earthly path. His closeness, therefore, is not one of terrifying judgment, but rather of support and liberation."

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