Saturday, February 23, 2013

Pope Benedict on Beauty and Truth

H/T to Supertradmum for the Pope's address on Vatican Radio. This is particularly appropriate as I am reading The Picture of Dorian Gray in my English class. My emphases and comments.
At the end of this very spiritually intense week[He has been on retreat with the Roman Curia], only one word remains: Thank you! Thank you for this community of prayerful listening, that has accompanied me. Thank you, above all, to your Eminence for these beautiful "walks," in the world of faith, the world of the Psalms. We were amazed by the richness, the depth, the beauty of this universe of faith and we are grateful for the Word of God [In the beginning, there was the Word...] that you have spoken to us in a new way, with new strength.
"The art of believing, the art of praying" was the theme. I was reminded of the fact that the medieval theologians translated the word "Logos" not only as "Verbum", but also as "ars" [art]: "Verbum" and "ars" are interchangeable. For the medieval theologians, it was only with the two words together that the whole meaning of the word “Logos” appeared [Remember, a word's meaning 'is' and Logos does not simply mean 'word' in translation. We must take words like we do faith: slowly, as its fullness is revealed to us.]. The "Logos" is not just a mathematical reason: the "Logos" has a heart, the "Logos" is also love. The truth is beautiful and the true and beautiful go together: beauty is the seal of truth. [And this is where Oscar Wilde goes wrong. Beauty is, but it is not meaningless in the world. It is not empty of meaning beyond its existence; its very essence is that what is True.]
[Brace yourselves!] And yet, starting from the Psalms and from our everyday experience, you have also strongly emphasized that the "very good" of the sixth day - expressed by the Creator - is permanently contradicted by the evil of this world, by suffering, by corruption. It’s almost as if wickedness wills permanently to spoil creation, to contradict God and make its truth and its beauty unrecognizable. In a world so marked even by evil, the "Logos," the eternal beauty and the eternal “art”, must appear as a “caput cruentatum.” [Bloody 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.
Your Eminence, thank you for everything and let us continue to "walk" even further in this mysterious world of faith, to be increasingly able to pray, to ask, to proclaim, to be witnesses to the truth [To bear testimony to the Truth is the motto  of Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the Prefect of the Papal Household and the Pope's private secretary], that is beauty, that is love.
Finally, dear friends, 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. 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, confident in the victory of God, sure of the truth, of beauty, and of love. Thank you all. [We thank you, Sancte Pater, and we love you. We will pray for you always, even if you are 'hidden from the world.']

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