.- Benedict XVI finished his final Lenten spiritual exercises as Pope by thanking his collaborators for support and help these last eight years and by reflecting on the relationship between truth and beauty.
“I would like to thank you all, not only for this week, but for the past eight years, in which you have borne with me, with great skill, affection, love, faith, the weight of the Petrine ministry,” Pope Benedict said Feb. 23 in his closing remarks for the week-long retreat.
“This gratitude remains within me and even if this visible exterior communion is now ending - as Cardinal Ravasi has said - the spiritual closeness, a deep communion in prayer, remains.
“In this certainty let us go forward,” the Pope stated, “confident in the victory of God, sure of the truth, of beauty, and of love.”
The Holy Father offered his words of thanks and his thoughts on the week of meditation at 9:00 this morning in the Redemptoris Mater chapel of the Apostolic Palace. He spoked to Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, who led the retreat, and the rest of the Curia who took part in the exercises.
He began by recalling the theme of the retreat – “The art of believing, the art of praying” – and said it reminded him that medieval theologians “translated the word ‘Logos’ not only as ‘Verbum’ (Word), but also as ‘ars’ (art, skill): ‘Verbum’ and ‘ars’ are interchangeable.”
Medieval theologians understood that the Word of God “is also love. The truth is beautiful and the true and beautiful go together: beauty is the seal of truth,” the Pope stated.
Cardinal Ravasi based his meditations on the Psalms, and in one section he pointed out how God’s Creation was made good but evil constantly attacks it.
“It’s almost as if wickedness wills permanently to spoil creation, to contradict God and make its truth and its beauty unrecognizable,” the Pope observed.
“In a world so marked even by evil, the ‘Logos,’ the eternal beauty and the eternal ‘art,’ must appear as a ‘caput cruentatum’(bloodied head). The incarnate Son, the incarnate ‘Logos’ is crowned with a crown of thorns and nevertheless is just that: in this suffering figure of the Son of God we begin to see the deepest beauty of our Creator and Redeemer; in the silence of the ‘dark night’ we can, nevertheless, hear the Word.
“And believing is nothing other than, in the darkness of the world, touching the hand of God, and in this way, in silence, hearing the Word, seeing love,” Pope Benedict said.