Pope Benedict XVI held his weekly General Audience Wednesday, during which he continued his catechetical series on prayer. The focus of the catechesis this was Psalm 136:
Known as the Great Hallel, this Psalm is a great hymn of praise which was traditionally sung at the conclusion of the Passover meal. As such, it was probably sung by Jesus and his disciples at the Last Supper (cf. Mt 26:30). The Psalm takes the form of a litany praising God’s mighty deeds in the creation of the world and in the history of Israel; each reference to God’s saving work is followed by the refrain: “For his steadfast love endures for ever”. It is God’s faithful love, in fact, which is revealed in the ordered beauty of the universe and in the great events of Israel’s liberation from slavery and the pilgrimage of the Chosen People to the land of promise. As we sing this great litany of God’s mighty works, we give thanks that the depth of his steadfast and merciful love was fully revealed in the coming of his only-begotten Son.
The Holy Father went on to say that in Christ, we see clearly “what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God, for that is what we are” (1 Jn 3:1). As usual, following the catechesis, the Holy Father greeted pilgrims in several languages, including English:
I offer cordial greetings to all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today’s Audience, especially those from England, Norway, Nigeria, Australia, Indonesia and the United States. My greeting also goes to the members of Legatus visiting Rome on pilgrimage and to the group of Lutheran pilgrims from Iceland. I also welcome the group of Anglican seminarians taking part in a month of study in Rome. Upon all of you I invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace!
This Wednesday was the latest of more than a dozen reflections on Christian prayer, which the Holy Father began in May of this year. (Vatican Radio)