Pope Francis’s prayer intention for the month of August is “That artists of our time, through their ingenuity, may help everyone discover the beauty of creation.” This action from the pope is the latest in a long history of Catholic Church teaching on environmental protection, and comes amid new concerns about the quickening pace of climate change.
Papal prayer intentions call the church to pray and act as one. The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, which supports the implementation of the prayer intentions, has released a new video with Pope Francis describing why he urges the church to celebrate the beauty of creation. The video is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgpNQBrL1gM
This prayer intention coincides with increasing concern about the accelerating pace of climate change. Recent studies of glacial melt in Greenland suggest that the ice may be melting more rapidly than predicted. This may lead to sea level rising more quickly than expected, which would threaten the well-being of millions of people.
Pope Francis and the Catholic Church remain strongly committed to strengthening humanity’s role as protectors of creation.
Pope Francis said, “The arts give expression to the beauty of the faith and proclaim the Gospel message of the grandeur of God’s creation.” The Pope explained, “When we admire a work of art or a marvel of nature, we discover how everything speaks to us of Him and of His love.”
Tomás Insua, Executive Director of the Global Catholic Climate Movement, said “As Catholics, we are rooted in a deep spiritual tradition of caring for creation. Pope Francis has shown once again that care for creation is not an optional aspect of our Catholic identity. It is an essential way of demonstrating our love for those sisters and brothers who are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.”
Discovering “the beauty of creation” continues the Church’s long tradition of attention to the natural world, a tradition that is itself reflected in the Scriptures. As Pope Francis said in his encyclical letter on climate change and ecology, “Jesus was able to invite others to be attentive to the beauty that there is in the world because he himself was in constant touch with nature, lending it an attention full of fondness and wonder.” (Laudato Si’ 97). Appreciating the beauty of creation is a powerful force to deepen our relationship with God and to inspire commitment to caring for our common home.
Pope Francis said, “The joy of artists in a world at times gloomy and glum is so good for the soul!” Francis emphasizes, “May artists of our time, through their ingenuity, help everyone discover the beauty of creation.”
The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network and Global Catholic Climate Movement are collaborating on a campaign to encourage the implementation of the prayer intention. The campaign invites people to become “artists” by taking photos or videos of places in nature where they appreciate the beauty of creation. The campaign is hashtagged #BeautyOfCreation.
A description of the campaign is at the Beauty of Creation webpage:
http://catholicclimatemovement.global/beauty-of-creation. The campaign will continue through the Season of Creation ( http://seasonofcreation.org/ ), a time when Christians worldwide unite to pray and act as one. The Season of Creation is endorsed by Pope Francis, the Ecumenical Patriarch, and major European churches.
Insua said, “We are encouraging everyone to become artists and see the beauty of creation. Our #BeautyOfCreation campaign uncovers the wonders of nature that surround us. From a flower in the sidewalk to the peak of Mt. Everest, every bit of creation reveals the creator.”
The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network is an office of the Apostleship of Prayer. The mission of the Apostleship of Prayer is to encourage Christians to make a daily offering of themselves to the Lord for the coming of God’s Kingdom and for the Holy Father’s monthly intentions. For more information, please visit http://www.popesprayerusa.net/
The Global Catholic Climate Movement is a global network of 400+ member organizations and a community of thousands of Catholics, responding to the Pope’s call to action in the Laudato Si’ encyclical. For more information, please visit http://catholicclimatemovement.global/