Pope Francis greets a member of the Diakonia of Beauty association Pope Francis greets a member of the Diakonia of Beauty association  (Vatican Media)

Pope Francis: Art encourages thirst for God

Pope Francis congratulates the Diakonia of Beauty for its 10th anniversary, and encourages artists to translate the beauty of God to inspire in others a thirst for God.

By Devin Watkins

As the Diakonia of Beauty organization marks a decade since its foundation, Pope Francis met Thursday with a delegation of artist-members to thank them for their service to the Church.

Founded in 2012 to foster an exchange between artists and the Church, the Diakonia of Beauty offers education, prayer, and spiritual and economic support to members, who are musicians, poets, singers, painters, architects, sculptors, actors, and dancers.

The Pope recalled that Sacred Scripture speaks extensively about the beauty of the universe, which refers by analogy to the beauty of God the Creator.

“Artistic creation completes, in a certain sense, the beauty of Creation, and when it is inspired by faith reveals more clearly to people the divine love which is its origin.”

Thirst for God

Pope Francis praised the 10 years of work carried out by the Diakonia of Beauty and the “love and passion” with which its members have shared their God-given talents with others to spread the message of faith and evangelization.

Beauty, said the Pope, can create communion even through the years, since art is not limited to a certain time period.

“The artist is not even limited in space, because beauty can touch in each person that which is universal—especially the thirst for God—overcoming the frontiers of language and culture.”

Authentic art, he added, can speak eloquently of the beauty and goodness of God.

With Pope St. John Paul II, Pope Francis said art must “make perceptible, and as far as possible attractive, the world of the spirit, of the invisible, of God. It must therefore translate into meaningful terms that which is in itself ineffable.”

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Gaze of love and faith

The Pope went on to urge artists to reach out to the men and women of our times in such a way as to be understood, rather than creating an “incomprehensible and sealed” style of art.

“Seek to reach the best part of them. The Church relies on you today to help our brothers and sisters to have a sensitive and compassionate heart, a renewed gaze of love toward the world and others.”

Sadness and distance seem to have the upper hand in society right now, said the Pope. The task of artists, he added, is to help the world rediscover the beauty which God shares with humanity.

“Contact with beauty always lifts us up and helps us go beyond,” he concluded. “Enlivening and sustaining faith, art is a pathway to go to the Lord.”

17 February 2022, 13:24