VATICAN CITY, DEC 10, 2003 (VIS) - In today's general audience celebrated in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope continued with his catechesis on the psalms and canticles which are part of the ecclesial prayer of vespers, and spoke of a hymn in chapter 19 of the Apocalypse, composed of alleluias and acclamations.
The Holy Father noted that in this hymn various personalities from the heavenly liturgy speak: 'An 'immense crowd,' made up of the assembly of the angels and the saints. The voice of the 'twenty four elders' stands out as well as that of the 'four living beings,' symbolic figures that seem to be the priests of this heavenly liturgy of praise and thanksgiving. At the end, a single voice rises up which involves the 'immense crowd' in the hymn.'
'At the heart of this joyful invocation is the representation of the decisive intervention of God in history: the Lord is not indifferent to human events, like an isolated and authoritarian ruler. ' On the contrary, His gaze is the source of action because He intervenes and destroys arrogant and oppressive rulers, He rebukes the proud who challenge Him, and judges all those who commit evil.'
John Paul II emphasized that 'our prayer must invoke and praise divine action, the Lord's effective justice, and His glory obtained through the triumph of evil. God becomes present in history, siding with the just and with victims, as the short and concise acclamation of the Apocalypse declares and as is often repeated in the Psalms.'
Following the audience and upon returning to his private apartments, the Pope appeared at the window of his study overlooking St. Peter's Square to greet the members of the Italian Air Force, headed by the Military Ordinate and the head of the Major State of the Armed Forces, on the feast today of their patroness, Our Lady of Loreto.
'The feast of your heavenly patroness,' said the Holy Father, 'gives me the opportunity to invite you to always direct your gaze on Our Lady of Loreto. May she be a model to refer to constantly and a safe guide of your life. Invoke her with confidence in every situation: she will be your aid, consolation and hope. I take this occasion to wish you and your families a Happy and Holy Christmas.'
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