Pope Francis’ prayer intention for August is for artists: That artists of our time, through their ingenuity, may help everyone discover the beauty of creation.
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19: 1). As creation reveals God’s beauty, so humans, made in God’s image and likeness, create works that give glory to God. The great Russian novelist Dostoevsky wrote that “beauty will save the world.” How? At the end of the Second Vatican Council the bishops told artists: “This world in which we live needs beauty in order not to sink into despair. It is beauty, like truth, which brings joy to the human heart and is that precious fruit which resists the wear and tear of time, which unites generations and makes them share things in admiration.” Beauty lifts the heart and brings people together. Pope Francis spoke of “the important and necessary task of artists: to create works of art that bear through the language of beauty a sign, a spark of hope and trust where people seem to give in to indifference and ugliness.” He went on to say: “Architects and painters, sculptors and musicians, filmmakers and writers, photographers and poets, artists of every discipline, are called to make beauty shine, especially where darkness and greyness dominate everyday life; they are custodians of beauty, heralds and witnesses of hope for humanity, as my predecessors have repeated many times. I invite them, therefore, to care for beauty, and beauty will heal the many wounds that mark the heart and soul of the men and women of our times.” However, artists can be tempted to create what is fashionable or shocking in order to make money or a name for themselves. They can create works that degrade humanity and foster conflict. We pray that artists use their gifts to heal and to give glory to God.
Find Pope Francis’ entire reflection on the Apostleship of Prayer website.