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Isaiah 12

Canticle - The rejoicing of a redeemed people
If any man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink (Jn 7, 37)

I thank you, Lord: you were angry with me,
  but your anger has passed and you give me comfort.

Truly, God is my salvation,
  I trust, I shall not fear.
For the Lord is my strength, my song,
  he is my saviour.

With joy you will draw water
from the wells of salvation.
Give thanks to the Lord, give praise to his name!
Make his mighty deeds known to the peoples.

Declare the greatness of his name,
sing a psalm to the Lord!
For he has done glorious deeds:
make them known to all the earth!

People of Zion, sing and shout for joy,
for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Catechesis by Pope St John Paul II on Canticle Isaiah 12
General Audience, Wednesday 17 April 2002 - also in French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

Lauds, Thursday Week 2 - Exultation of the redeemed people

"1. The hymn just proclaimed appears as a song of joy in the Liturgy of Lauds. It is a concluding seal on the sections of the Book of Isaiah known for their Messianic reading. It includes chapters 6-12, generally known as the "Book of Emmanuel". In fact, at the centre of those prophetic sayings towers the figure of a sovereign, who while belonging to the historic Davidic dynasty, reveals transfigured features and receives glorious titles: "Wonderful counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of peace" (Is 9,6).

The concrete figure of the king of Judah that Isaiah promises as son and successor of Achaz, the sovereign of the time, known to be far removed from the Davidic ideals, is the sign of a higher promise: that of the Messiah-King who will bring to its fullness the name "Emmanuel", namely, "God-with-us", becoming the perfect presence of the divine in human history. It is easy to understand, then, how the New Testament and Christianity did intuit in the profile of the king the personal features of Jesus Christ, Son of God become man in solidarity with us.

2. Scholars now think that the hymn which we are dealing with (cf. Is 12,1-6), on account of its literary quality and its general tone, to be a composition written at a time later than that of the prophet Isaiah who lived in the eighth century before Christ. It is almost like a quotation, a text that resembles a psalm, thought out, perhaps, for liturgical use, that has been inserted here as the conclusion for the "Book of Emmanuel". In fact, it repeats some of the themes: salvation, trust, joy, divine action, the presence among the people of the "Holy One of Israel", an expression that indicates both the "holy" transcendence of God, and his loving and active closeness on which the people of Israel can rely.

The singer is a person who has lived a bitter experience, felt to be an act of divine judgment. But now the trial is over, the purification has taken place; in the place of the Lord's anger there is a smile, his readiness to save and console.

3. The hymn's two stanzas delineate two moments. In the first (cf. vv.1-3), that begins with the invitation to pray: "You will say on that day", the word "salvation" stands out, it is repeated three times and applied to the Lord: "God indeed is my salvation.... He has become my salvation ... the wells of salvation". Let us recall that the name Isaiah like that of Jesus contains the root of the Hebrew verb ylsa', which alludes to bringing about "salvation". For this reason the one praying has the absolute certainty that divine grace is at the root of his liberation and hope.

It is important to note that he refers implicitly to the great salvific event of the exodus from the slavery of Egypt, as he quotes the words of Moses' song of deliverance, "the Lord God is my strength and my song" (Ex 15,2).

4. The salvation granted by God, that can make joy and trust flower even on the dark day of the trial, is portrayed by the classic image in the Bible of water: "You will draw water with joy at the fountain of salvation" (Is 12,3). It reminds us of the scene of the Samaritan woman, when Jesus offers her the possibility of having in herself a "spring of water that will well up to eternal life" (Jn 4,14).

Cyril of Alexandria commented in a marvelous way: "Jesus calls the life-giving gift of the Spirit living water, the only one through which humanity, even though it was completely abandoned, like the tree trunks on the mountains, and dry, and deprived of every kind of virtue by the deceit of the devil, is restored to the former beauty of its nature.... The Saviour calls the grace of the Holy Spirit water, and if one participates in him, he will have in himself the source of divine teachings, so that he will no longer need the advice of others, and will be able to exhort those who are thirsting for the Word of God. Such were the holy prophets and apostles of God and their successors in the ministry while they were alive on earth. Of them it is written: "You will draw water with joy at the fountain of salvation" (Commento al Vangelo di Giovanni [Comment on the Gospel of John], II, 4, Roma 1994, pp. 272,275).

Unfortunately, humanity often abandons this fountain that will quench the thirst of the entire being of the person, as the Prophet Jeremiah points out with sadness: "They have abandoned me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns, that can not hold water" (Jer 2,13). Even Isaiah, a few pages before, exalted the "waters of Shiloah, that run slowly", symbol of the Lord present in Zion, and threatened the chastisement of the flooding of the "waters of the river, namely, the Euphrates, great and mighty" (Is 8,6-7), symbol of the military and economic might and of idolatry, waters that then fascinated Judah, that would later submerge her.

5. Another invitation, "On that day you will say" the second stanza begins (cf. Is 12,4-6), that is a continual call to joyful praise in honour of the Lord. The commands to praise are multiplied: "Praise, invoke, manifest, proclaim, sing, shout, exult".

At the centre of the praise there is a unique profession of faith in God the Saviour who works in history and is beside his creature, sharing his up's and down's: "The Lord has done great works ... great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel" (vv. 5.6). This profession of faith also has a missionary function: "Among the nations make known his deeds ... let this be known throughout all the earth" (vv. 4.5). The salvation that they have obtained must be witnessed to the world, so that all humanity may run to the fountain of peace, joy and freedom."


"I warmly welcome the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors, especially the priests from Vietnam who are returning to their country after studies in Europe. Dear priests: tell your brothers and sisters in the faith that I pray for them every day; I pray for the peace and progress of the whole nation. Upon the pilgrims and visitors from England, Sweden, Denmark, Canada and the United States, I invoke the peace of the Risen Christ. God bless you all!

Je salue les pèlerins de langue française présents à cette audience, en particulier ceux du diocèse de Nancy venus avec leur évêque, Mgr Papin, à l’occasion du millénaire de la naissance du Pape saint Léon IX. Que la joie de Pâques fasse de vous tous des témoins audacieux du Christ ressuscité ! Je vous donne de grand cœur la Bénédiction apostolique.

Mit diesen Gedanken grüße ich die Pilger und Besucher, die aus den Ländern deutscher Sprache nach Rom gekommen sind. Euch, Euren Angehörigen daheim und allen, die mit uns über Radio Vatikan und das Fernsehen verbunden sind, erteile ich gern den Apostolischen Segen.

Saúdo os peregrinos de língua portuguesa que eventualmente aqui se encontrem, com votos de paz e alegria em Cristo ressuscitado. Vamos pedir a Deus Nosso Senhor, para que este período pascal sirva de estímulo para uma paz duradoura, e abra os corações à concórdia e à reconciliação. Com minha Bênção Apostólica.

Saludo a los fieles de lengua española; en especial a los sacerdotes que participan en el curso de actualización en el Colegio Español de Roma; también a la Delegación de la Asociación Internacional de Radiodifusión, a los que animo a seguir trabajando para que esa importante actividad social se rija por los principios de la ética y del bien común. Asimismo, al Grupo de la Institución Teresiana que participa en el Curso de formación "Santa María" y recuerda hoy el aniversario de la ordenación de su Fundador el Beato Pedro Poveda. A todos os bendigo de corazón.

Van harte groet ik alle Nederlandse en Belgische pelgrims. Ik wens u toe dat u altijd de vreugde en vrede van de aanwezigheid van de Heer in uw midden mag ervaren. Ik spoor u aan te volharden in het gebed, in het bijzonder voor de vrede in de wereld. Van harte verleen ik u de Apostolische Zegen. Geloofd zij Jezus Christus!

Srdečne pozdravujem slovenských pútnikov z Košíc a okolia, zo Zvolena, Gbelov, Serede a z Dolného Hričova. Bratia a sestry, budúca nedel'a Dobrého Pastiera je Dňom modlitieb za duchovné povolania. Prosme Pána, aby stále posielal mnoho robotníkov na svoju žatvu. S týmto želaním udel'ujem svoje Apoštolské požehnanie vám i vašim rodinám. Pochválený bud' Ježiš Kristus!

Su džiaugsmu sveikinu piligrimus lietuvius, ypatingai tikinčiuosius iš Telšių vyskupijos! Brangieji, į savo širdis priimkite šiandien klausytos Giesmės žodžius. Dievas, išganymo šaltinis, testiprina jūsų tikėjimą, kad jo dėka galėtumėte semtis džiaugsmo ir pasitikėjimo savo gyvenimui! Viešpats tesaugo ir telaimina jus visus! Garbė Jėzui Kristui!


Rivolgo un cordiale benvenuto ai pellegrini di lingua italiana. In particolare saluto i fedeli di Ferentino, qui giunti insieme con il loro Vescovo, Mons. Salvatore Boccaccio, per far benedire la statua lignea di san Celestino V. Carissimi, possa tale iniziativa pastorale rilanciare nelle vostre comunità cristiane l’ideale evangelico che ha segnato la vita e la missione di questo Papa.

Saluto, poi, i fedeli della parrocchia "Spirito Santo" in Barletta e quelli di San Felice Circeo, che commemorano il decimo anniversario della collocazione nel fondale marino della statua del "Cristo del Circeo". Saluto, inoltre, i rappresentanti della cooperativa di ispirazione cristiana "SIGMA" di Bologna e la Società filarmonica di Mugnano. Tutti ringrazio per la loro presenza, auspicando che questo incontro rafforzi in ciascuno l’impegno per una coerente testimonianza cristiana.

Mi rivolgo ora ai giovani, ai malati e agli sposi novelli. Nell’odierna catechesi abbiamo meditato sull’esultanza gioiosa del popolo redento. Cari giovani, mettendo le vostre fresche energie al servizio del Vangelo, fate in modo che la vostra vita sia un "sì" al disegno d’amore di Dio; voi, cari ammalati, cooperate al disegno divino della salvezza con l’offerta quotidiana della vostra sofferenza; e voi, cari sposi novelli, sforzatevi di aprire l’intera vostra vita familiare alla grazia della redenzione.


Los graves acontecimientos vividos en estos días pasados por el pueblo de Venezuela me mueven a dirigir un llamado a las autoridades y a los ciudadanos de esa querida nación, para que pongan todo su empeño en favorecer un clima de convivencia pacífica, en el que prevalezca el espíritu de reconciliación. Que dejando de lado toda tentación de revancha o violencia, caminen con espíritu de fraternidad, solidaridad y colaboración, hacia metas más altas de justicia, respeto de la legalidad y auténtico progreso para todos. "