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The power of art to highlight the injustices of the world

On this World Day of Prayer, we reflect on Pope Francis’ monthly prayer intention: “That artists of our time, through their ingenuity, may help everyone discover the beauty of creation.”

“In every age the Church has called upon the arts to give expression to the beauty of her faith and to proclaim the gospel message of the grandeur of God’s creation, the dignity of human beings made in his image and likeness, and the power of Christ’s death and resurrection to bring redemption and rebirth to a world touched by the tragedy of sin and death” said Pope Francis on Oct. 19, 2013.

Most of us can say we are touched by some great work of art – a statue, a painting, a piece of music. We recall that good art lifts the heart and soul to the mystery of life, to the beauty of creation and to the beautiful artistic creations of men and women.

We can add also that good art can highlight the injustices of the world, and the reality of life for those who live “on the peripheries.” Maybe our prayer this month can be to be on the lookout for such creations and be grateful, not forgetting also the popular art and music that can raise our hearts to be grateful for the beauty of the world and for reminders of its imperfectness.

What Pope Francis wrote of the Vatican Museum can refer to much artistic work: “it bears witness to the spiritual aspirations of humanity, the sublime mysteries of the Christian faith, and the quest of that supreme beauty which has its source and fulfillment in God.”

Donal Neary SJ.
Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (Ireland)

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