A majestic vision of the entire creation finds its crowning glory in the risen Christ, John Paul II proclaimed in his general audience May 2.

Addressing some 20,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Pope commented on the canticle of the three young men who were condemned to die in a fiery furnace for refusing to adore a golden statue of Nebuchadnezzar. As the Book of Daniel recounts, God saved them from death.

This thanksgiving hymn is a unique inspiration for Christian prayer, the Pope explained.

“Repeating the canticle of the three young men of Israel in the Sunday liturgy of morning prayer, we who are disciples of Christ want to adopt the same sentiments of gratitude for the great works accomplished by God—in creation and, especially, in the paschal mystery,” John Paul said.

The Pope's address continued his catechesis on prayer and the biblical psalms and canticles which make up the Liturgy of the Hours.

------- EXCERPT: