Papal Address at Conclusion of Lenten Retreat

“Great Love Sees More Than Reason Alone”

Share this Entry

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 20, 2011 ( Here is a translation of an address given Saturday by Benedict XVI at the conclusion of his Lenten retreat. Discalced Carmelite Father François-Marie Léthel, secretary of the Pontifical Academy of Theology, preached this year’s week-long spiritual exercises for the Pope and the Roman Curia.

* * *

Dear Brothers,

Dear Father Léthel,

In the light of this journey of reflection, of meditation, of prayer in the company of the holy friends of John Paul II, I would like to say with my whole heart: thank you, Father Léthel, for your sure guidance, for the spiritual riches that you have bestowed upon us. You presented them to us as “stars” in the firmament of history and, with your enthusiasm and your joy, you situated us in the circle of these saints and you showed us that it is precisely the “little” saints who are the “great” saints. You showed us that the “scientia fidei” (science of faith) and the “scientia amoris” (science of love) go together and complete each other, that the greatness of reason and the greatness of love go together, indeed, that great love sees more than reason alone.

Providence has willed that this retreat conclude with the Feast of St. Joseph, my personal patron and the patron of the Holy Church: a humble saint, a humble worker, who was made worthy to be the guardian of the Redeemer.

St. Matthew characterizes St. Joseph with one word: “He was a just man,” “dikaios,” [in Greek], from “dike,” and in the Old Testament, as we find it for example in Psalm 1, “just” is the man who is immersed in the Word of God, who lives in the Word of God, who lives the Law not as a “yoke” (giogo), but as a “joy” (gioia), who lives — we could say — the Law as “Gospel.” St. Joseph was just, he was immersed in the Word of God, written, transmitted in the wisdom of his people, and precisely in this way was prepared and called to know the Incarnate Word — the Word who came among us as a man — and predestined to care for, to protect this Incarnate Word; this remains his mission forever: to care for the Holy Church and Our Lord.

We entrust ourselves in this moment to his care, we pray that he help us in our humble service. We go forward in courage under this protection. We are grateful for the humble saints; we pray to the Lord that he also make us humble in our service and therefore saints in the company of saints.

Once again we thank you, Father Léthel, for your inspiration. Thank you!

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation