Pope: The Little Saints Are the Great Ones
Highlights Example of St. Joseph
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Today in an address before praying the midday Angelus, the Pope stated, "I thank the Lord for having granted me the opportunity to make a retreat these past several days, and I am grateful to those who were near to me with their prayers."
Discalced Carmelite Father François-Marie Léthel preached the week-long spiritual exercises for the Pontiff and the Roman Curia on the theme "The light of Christ in the heart of the Church: John Paul II and the theology of the saints."
On Saturday, after concluding the retreat, the Holy Father gave an address to Father Léthel and members of the curia.
He thanked the preacher, noting, "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 presented them to us as 'stars' in the firmament of history," Benedict XVI added.
He affirmed, "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."
John Paul II
In a letter sent Saturday to Father Léthel, the Pope underlined the "spiritual journey inspired by the witness of my venerable predecessor John Paul II, whose upcoming beatification has suggested the theme of holiness, reflected upon through an encounter with the living figures of the saints, who are like luminous stars that circle about the Sun that is Christ, Light of the World."
"With this retreat you have more than ever made us sense the Church as communion of saints," he affirmed.
In Saturday's address, the Pontiff said, "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. Joseph was just," the Holy Father observed. "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," Benedict XVI stated.
He concluded: "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."
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On ZENIT's Web page:
Papal address: http://zenit.org/article-32069?l=english
Letter to Father Léthel: http://zenit.org/article-32070?l=english