.- The saints are âstars in the firmament of historyâ who show that great love âsees farther than reason alone,â Pope Benedict XVI said in a reflection on the conclusion of his Lenten spiritual exercises.
The upcoming beatification of John Paul II focused the exercises on the topic of sainthood.
âSuch reflection and contemplation on the mystery of Christ, reflected in the existence of its most faithful followers, constitutes a fundamental element that I have inherited from Pope John Paul II and that I continue with full conviction and great joy,â Pope Benedict said in a letter thanking Fr. Francois-Marie Lethel, who guided the March 13-19 exercises.
The Pope said the French Carmelite priestâs discussions of sainthood matched the catechesis of his own Wednesday general audiences. These audiences intended to make the Church âbetter known and loved as she appears in the lives, the works, and the teachings of the saints.â
At the end of the Lenten exercises, Benedict thanked Fr. Lethel for the âsafe guidance and spiritual richnessâ he showed.
âYou have shown us the saints as stars in the firmament of history ... demonstrating that the 'small' saints are 'great' saints,â he continued. âYou have shown us that the âscientia fideiâ (knowledge of faith) and the âscientia amorisâ (knowledge of love) ... complete one another, that reason and great love go together and, even more, that great love sees farther than reason alone.â
The Pope also reflected on his patron St. Joseph, whose feast day coincided with the end of the exercises. The husband of Mary was âa humble saint, a humble worker, who was considered worthy to be the Redeemerâs guardian.â
The Gospel author St. Matthew defined St. Joseph by the single word âjust,â the pontiff noted. He was âimmersed in God's wordâ and lived the Law of God not as a âyokeâ but as âhappiness.â
In this way he was prepared and called to know the Incarnate Word, Jesus.
âThis is his mission forever, to guard the Church and our Lord,â Pope Benedict said.