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Pope's general audience on the Psalm 118: Priest's celibacy testifies their call to complete devotion to the Lord

2011-11-09

“Dear Brothers and Sisters, In our catechesis on Christian prayer, we now turn to Psalm 119, a solemn celebration of the Torah, the Law of the Lord.  In twenty-two stanzas, each beginning with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the Psalmist proclaims his love for God’s Law, which brings light, life and salvation.  

His song voices the range of sentiments which fill the hearts of those who pray: praise, thanksgiving, trust, supplication and lament, all within the context of a heartfelt openness to the Lord’s word.

In praying this Psalm, Christians see in the Blessed Virgin Mary the model of this loving docility to God’s will, and in Jesus the fulfillment of the Law. A striking example of the Psalmist’s devotion is seen in his words: “The Lord is my portion”. We can apply these words in a special way to priests, whose lives of celibacy testify to their call to complete devotion to the Lord and his Kingdom. But they can also be applied to all the faithful, who share in Christ’s royal priesthood and are called daily to bear witness to the Gospel. May the Lord grant us a deeper love for him, so that, like the Psalmist, we may always make his word “a lamp to our feet and a light to our path”.

I welcome the priest jubilarians from England and Wales and I assure them of my prayers for the spiritual fruitfulness of their ministry. I also greet the Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres taking part in a programme of spiritual renewal. I also greet the members of American Society of the Italian Legion of Merit, and I thank the members of the brass ensemble from Malta for their musical offering.

Upon all the English-speaking pilgrims present, especially those from England, Denmark, the Philippines, Canada and the United States, I invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace!”