The Vatican

Pope invites to transform the world through art

During his trip to Venice, Pope Francis held several meetings in which he highlighted the importance of beauty and art in transforming the world.

Paloma López Campos-April 28, 2024-Reading time: 3 minutes
Pope Venice

Pope Francis during his meeting with young people in Venice (CNS photo / LolaGomez)

During his trip to VenicePope Francis held several meetings with young people, artists and the faithful who attended Holy Mass in St. Mark's Square. The Holy Father took advantage of these occasions to address a few words to those present, focusing on the importance of beauty and art in transforming the world.

In addressing the young people, Francis wanted to recall "the great gift we have received, that of being God's beloved children, for which we are called to fulfill God's dream". This desire of the Father for his children, the Pope explained, "is that we be witnesses and live his joy".

To make this dream of God a reality, the Holy Father indicates that it is essential "to rediscover in the Lord our beauty and to rejoice in the name of Jesus, a God of a young spirit who loves young people and who always surprises us."

In the rediscovery of this beauty, Francis continues, it is essential to "detach ourselves from sadness" and remember "that we are made for Heaven". To this end, the Pope encourages us not to dwell on our miseries and sins, but to turn to the misecordia of God, "who is our Father" and when we fall "extends his hand to us". Only in this way can we "accept ourselves as a gift" and look at ourselves, not with our own eyes, "but with the eyes of God".

The art of giving oneself to others

Once this has been achieved, the Pontiff stresses the importance of perseverance and of losing the fear of "going against the current". In this sense, the Pope also points out that we cannot walk alone, but must try to be accompanied by others who also wish to live their lives with Christ.

In this same dynamic of being accompanied, Francis wanted to remind young people that "we are called to give ourselves to others". "The precariousness of the world in which we live," says the Bishop of Rome, "cannot be an excuse to stand still and complain." "We are in this world to reach out to people who need us," the Pope stresses.

The Holy Father explains that "life is only possessed when it is given", so he invites us to escape from questions about the "why" and exchange them for the "for whom". In this way we can enter into God's creative dynamic, a "gratuitous" creativity in a world "that only pursues profit".

Art and the contemplative gaze

In the same vein, in his address to the artists, Pope Francis invited his listeners to fight with art against "the rejection of the other", thus making people "brothers everywhere" thanks to the universality of art.

This can become a reality, says the Pontiff, because "art educates us to a gaze that is not possessive, not objectifying, but also not indifferent or superficial". Art, continues the Pope, "educates us to a contemplative gaze". For this reason he affirms that "artists are in the world, but they are called to go beyond it".

This look that goes beyond can be found even in prison, as Francis said during his visit to some women prisoners. There the Pope pointed out that "paradoxically, a stay in prison can mark the beginning of something new, through the rediscovery of an unsuspected beauty in ourselves and in others, as symbolized by the artistic event that he welcomes and to whose project he actively contributes".

The Holy Father took the opportunity to ask that "the penitentiary system also offer inmates tools and spaces for human, spiritual, cultural and professional growth, creating the conditions for their healthy reintegration".

Abiding in Christ

Finally, in the homily delivered by the Pope at the Mass celebrated in St. Mark's Square, Francis emphasized that "the essential thing is to remain in the Lord, to dwell in Him. Something that is not static, but implies "growing in relationship with Him, conversing with Him, embracing His Word, following Him on the path of the Kingdom of God".

"By remaining united to Christ," says the Pope, "we can bring the fruits of the Gospel to the reality in which we live." These fruits include justice, peace, solidarity and mutual care, among others. Fruits that, the Holy Father insists, the world needs and that Christian communities must offer to the world.

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