VATICAN CITY, NOV 3, 2004 (VIS) - In today's general audience, celebrated in St. Peter's Square, the Pope spoke about a hymn in the Book of the Apocalypse, "Hymn of the Saved."

John Paul II explained that this hymn "brings to the liturgy of evening prayer the simplicity and intensity of a chorus of praise. It is in line with the solemn vision of the opening of the Apocalypse which presents a sort of heavenly liturgy which we, still pilgrims on earth, join during our ecclesiastical celebrations."

The first element of the hymn, he affirmed, "is the celebration of the Lord's works. ... Creation reveals the immense power of God." The Pope referred to the fact that the Book of the Apocalypse was written during the reign of the Roman emperor Domitian who forced the people to call him "Domunis et deus noster." Christians, however, he said, "refused to give such a title to a human creature" and only applied such terms of adoration to "Our true 'Lord and God'."

The Holy Father emphasized that Christ, "the immolated lamb" on the Cross who now reigns glorious, is the focus of the canticle. "The beloved eternal project of God has been fulfilled in Christ. He has freed us from evil and has made us into a 'kingdom of priests.' All of humanity is called to be part of this community of the children of God."

This hymn, he concluded, is "a moment of pure contemplation, joyous praise, and a song of love for Christ in His paschal mystery. ... In the liturgy of the Church in a sense we already share in the festive communion of the heavenly liturgy."
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