Saturday, February 24, 2018

Pope meets with Diakonia of Beauty

At 12:20pm local time (6:20am EST), in the Consistory Hall at the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father, Pope Francis received in audience the members of the Diakonia of Beauty movement in Rome on the occasion of a symposium which has been organized during the celebration of the feast day of Fra Angelico.

Speech of His Holiness, Pope Francis
addressed to members of the
Diakonia of Beauty movement

Dear friends,

I welcome you on the occasion of the Symposium which has been organized here in Rome to celebrate the feast day of Fra Angelico.  I thank Archbishop Robert Le Gall for the words he has offered in your name.  Through you, I wish to express my cordial greeting to all the artists who are trying to find ways to let beauty shine through the use of their talents and passions, as well as those who are fragile but who are able to re-establish themselves through their experience of the beauty of art.

Pope John Paul II wrote in his letter to artists: An artist has a particular relationship with beauty.  In a very true sense, it can be said that beauty is the vocation addressed to him by the Creator through the gift of 'artistic talent'. And, of course, this too is a talent to be used according to the logic of the gospel parable of the talents (cf Mt 25:14-30; Letter to Artists, 4 April 1999, 3).  This conviction on the part of Saint John Paul II illuminates the vision and the dynamism of the Diakonia of Beauty, which took root right here in Rome, during the time of the Synod on the New Evangelization in October 2012.  Together with you, I give thanks to the Lord for the journey that has been accomplished and for the variety of your talents, which He calls you to develop in the service of your neighbour and for the good of all of humanity.

The gifts that have been received are for each of you a source of responsibility and mission.  In fact, you are asked to work without allowing yourselves to be dominated by the search for vain glory or easy popularity, and even less by the often petty calculus of personal profit.  In a world where technique is often understood as the principal resource for understanding existence (cf Laudato si', 110), you are called, through your talents and attitudes to draw upon the sources of Christian spirituality, to propose an alternative way of understanding the quality of life, and to encourage a prophetic and contemplative way of life that is capable of profound rejoicing without being obsessed with consumption (LS, 222), and rather seeking to serve creation and caring for this oasis of beauty in our city which is too often cemented and absent of soul.  You are called to make gratitude and beauty known.

Therefore, I invite you to develop your talents in order to contribute to an ecological conversion that recognizes the eminent dignity of each person, his or her particular value, his or her creativity and his or her ability to promote the common good.  May your search for beauty in that which you create be motivated by the desire to serve the beauty of people's quality of life, their harmony with the environment, with their encounters with others and with their mutual assistance (cf LS, 150).  I encourage you, in this Diakonia of Beauty, to promote a culture of encounter, to build bridges between persons, between people, in a world where so many walls of fear are still being built.  Have within you a heart that is capable of bearing witness, in the expression of your art, to the fact that believing in Jesus Christ and following him is not only something true and just, but also beautiful, capable of filling our lives with new splendour and profound joy, even in the midst of trails (Evangelii gaudium, 167).  The Church is counting on you to make the ineffable beauty of God's love visible and to permit others to discover the beauty of being loved by God, of being filled with His love, of living in this love and bearing witness to it in the attention that we pay to others, especially those who are excluded, wounded, ignored by modern-day society.

While I entrust you to the Lord, through the intercession of Blessed Fra Angelico, I impart my Apostolic blessing to you and to all the members of the Diakonia of Beauty.

Thank you!

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