“An extraordinary book of prayers, in which God himself teaches Christians how to turn to Him”: This is how Pope Benedict XVI described the Book of Psalms, the focus of his general audience catechesis Wednesday, as he continued his series of lessons on Christian prayer.
The Holy Father told the thousands of pilgrims and visitors to St Peter’s Square : "In our catechesis on Christian prayer, we have looked to a number of Old Testament figures who represent models of prayer. We now turn to the great “prayerbook” of sacred Scripture: the Book of Psalms. These inspired songs teach us how to speak to God, expressing ourselves and the whole range of our human experience with words that God himself has given us. Despite the diversity of their literary forms, the Psalms are generally marked by the two interconnected dimensions of humble petition and of praise addressed to a loving God who understands our human frailty”.
In comments in Italian the Pope added: “In these prayers, the Psalms are manifestations of the soul and faith, in which everyone can recognize and communicate the experience of a special closeness to God to which every man is called”.
“In Hebrew, the Psalms are called Tehellim or songs of praise; the prayer of praise is, in fact, our best response to the God who even at times of trial remains ever at our side. Many of the Psalms are attributed to David, the great King of Israel who, as the Lord’s Anointed, prefigured the Messiah. In Jesus Christ and in his paschal mystery the Psalms find their deepest meaning and prophetic fulfilment. Christ himself prayed in their words. As we take up these inspired songs of praise, let us ask the Lord to teach us to pray, with him and in him, to our heavenly Father”.
Finally Pope Benedict greeted all the English speaking pilgrims present at the Wednesday audience: “I welcome the participants in the Congress of the European Society of Clinical Neurophysiology, with good wishes for their deliberations. I greet the Catholic educators from Canada and the United States meeting in Rome. I also greet the officers of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. My welcome goes to the American seminarians taking part in a study program in Rome, and to the novices of the Missionaries of Charity. Upon all the English-speaking pilgrims, especially those from England, Scotland, Sweden, Indonesia and the United States, I invoke God’s abundant blessings”. Listen: