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Pope: prayers of anguish turn to hymns of praise

Catholic World News - September 14, 2011

At his weekly public audience on September 14, Pope Benedict XVI assured the faithful that God hears all our prayers, even when we do not feel His presence.

The Pope continued his “school of prayer” with a meditation on Psalm 22, which he described as “an appeal addressed to a God Who appears distant, Who does not respond.” For the petitioner, crying out in distress, this is “a silence that rends the psalmist’s heart.” The Pontiff pointed out that the opening line of Psalm 22 was on the lips of Jesus on the Cross: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” In this case Jesus is calling out to his Father, fully confident that His voice will be heard—that the silence of the Almighty does not mean indifference.

In fact, the Pope continued, after that plaintive opening the Psalm goes on to say that God has always come to the help of His people in need. So despite the circumstances that press upon him and the apparent silence of God, “the psalmist’s faith and trust in the Lord remains.”

Psalm 22 eventually becomes a hymn of praise and thanksgiving, the Holy Father observed. At the point of death, the psalmist acknowledges God’s help. The Pope said: “This is the victory of faith, which can transform death into the gift of life, the abyss of suffering into a source of hope.”

Pope Benedict concluded with a summary of this lesson on prayer: “By placing all our trust and hope in God the Father, we can pray to Him with faith at all moments of anguish, and our cry for help will turn into a hymn of praise.”

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