God will guide, protect those who follow him, pope says at audience

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — God will always guide, protect and nourish those intent on following him, Pope Benedict XVI said.

“Following Jesus, the good shepherd, we will be certain we are on the right path and that the Lord will always guide us, be with us and we will lack nothing,” the pope said Oct. 5 during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square.

With an estimated 20,000 people gathered in the square, the pope continued a series of talks about praying with the Psalms, focusing on Psalm 23: “The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I lack.”

Looking at psalm — “a text familiar to and loved by all” — the pope said, “If we walk behind the good shepherd, no matter how difficult, twisting or long the path of our lives may seem, even if often it seems we are in a spiritual desert without water,” we can be sure God will protect and provide for us.

The psalm is an expression of “radical trust in God’s loving care,” which reaches its highest expression in the death and resurrection of Jesus, who gave his life to save his flock, the pope said.

Greeting English speakers at the audience, the pope offered his “prayerful good wishes” to the 35 men scheduled to be ordained transitional deacons Oct. 6 by U.S. Cardinal William J. Levada, prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. The new deacons are preparing for the priesthood at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.

Pope Benedict also greeted a delegation of Orthodox scholars from the theology faculty of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. The faculty awarded Pope Benedict its “Apostle Jason of Thessaloniki Gold Medal,” which the pope said was “an eloquent sign of the growing understanding and dialogue between Catholic and Orthodox Christians.”

Addressing the Orthodox in English, the pope said he hoped the improved relations would be “a harbinger of ever greater progress in our efforts to respond in fidelity, truth and charity to the Lord’s summons to unity.”

At the end of the audience, Bishop Anthony B. Taylor of Little Rock, Ark., personally handed Pope Benedict a copy of the “Catholic Study Bible,” an edition released in June as part of the Little Rock Scripture Study program.

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Editor’s Note: The text of the pope’s audience remarks in English will be posted online at: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2011/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20111005_en.html.

The text of the pope’s audience remarks in Spanish will be posted online at: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2011/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20111005_sp.html.

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