Posted June 09, 2009 in The Pope's Corner:
Beauty Will Save the World

by Pope John Paul II.

The Spirit is the mysterious Artist of the universe…. Dear artists, you well know that there are many impulses which, either from within or from without, inspire your talent. Every genuine inspiration, however, contains some tremor of that "breath" with which the Creator Spirit suffused the work of creation from the very beginning….

May the beauty which you pass on to generations still to come be such that it will stir them to wonder! Faced with the sacredness of life and of the human person, and before the marvels of the universe, wonder is the only appropriate attitude.

From this wonder there can come enthusiasm. People of today and tomorrow need this enthusiasm if they are to meet and master the crucial challenges which stand before us.

Thanks to this enthusiasm, humanity, every time it loses its way, will be able to lift itself up and set out again on the right path. In this sense it has been said with profound insight that "beauty will save the world." [F. Dostoyevsky, The Idiot, Part III, chap. 5].

Beauty is a key to the mystery and a call to transcendence. It is an invitation to savor life and to dream of the future. That is why the beauty of created things can never fully satisfy. It stirs that hidden nostalgia for God which a lover of beauty like St. Augustine could express in incomparable terms: "Late have I loved Thee, Beauty so old and so new: late have I loved Thee."

Artists of the world, may your many different paths all lead to that infinite Ocean of beauty where wonder becomes awe, exhilaration, unspeakable joy.

May you be guided and inspired by the mystery of the Risen Christ.

May the Blessed Virgin Mary be with you always: she is the tota pulchra, the all beautiful, portrayed by countless artists, whom Dante contemplates among the splendors of Paradise as "beauty that was joy in the eyes of all the saints." [Paradiso XXXI, 134-135.

Excerpted from Letter of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to Artists, 15-16.


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