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Pope John Paul II resumed his teachings on the songs and canticles of the Liturgy of the Hours during his general audience June 18 with a teaching on a canticle found in Isaiah 61:10-62:5. More than 11,000 people were on hand for his audience in St. Peter's Square.

In the canticle, the Holy Father said, the prophet “tries to portray the rebirth of Jerusalem, for which a new era is about to begin. The city is depicted as a bride who is about to celebrate her wedding.” He said the imagery of the bride and the bridegroom is often used in Scripture to evoke the covenant of love that exists between God and his people.

“The symbolism of the bride and the bridegroom, which appears with force in this passage, is one of the most intense images used in the Bible to exalt the bond of intimacy and the covenant of love that exists between the Lord and his chosen people” the Pope pointed out.

After being united with God in a covenant, Zion changes its name to Jerusalem, just as a bride changes her name and assumes her husband's name, the Holy Father explained. “Assuming a “new name” is almost tantamount to assuming a new identity, undertaking a mission and a radical change in lifestyle.”