As we conclude the month of August and the Pope's prayer intention for artists, we continue to contemplate creation and how its beauty can lead us back to God. We reflect on this basic truth as we approach the annual "World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation" that occurs each year on September 1.
Saint Augustine said it best when he referred to God as, "O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you!" God indeed is beauty itself and the source of all beauty, especially any beauty we may see in creation. This makes sense as creation receives everything it has from its Creator.
When we look at the beauty of creation it should remind us of its source. Pope Francis commented on this simple truth in his encyclical Laudato si'. He wrote, "Saint Francis, faithful to Scripture, invites us to see nature as a magnificent book in which God speaks to us and grants us a glimpse of his infinite beauty and goodness. 'Through the greatness and the beauty of creatures one comes to know by analogy their maker' (Wis 13:5); indeed, 'his eternal power and divinity have been made known through his works since the creation of the world' (Rom 1:20)."
Keeping this in mind, we should also remember how God's beauty can be seen not only in marvelous vistas as the Grand Canyon, but also in the smallest things. Take for example the quiet transformation of a caterpillar to a magnificent butterfly. It is a beauty to behold, but occurs quietly, often without anyone around to see. It reminds us that God's beauty in creation is everywhere, if only we had the eyes to see.
This in fact is the task of artists, as our monthly prayer intention states, "That artists of our time, through their ingenuity, may help everyone discover the beauty of creation." Artists can help us see the beauty of God in the little things, parts of creation that we would have never thought beautiful. It could be a small plant, or even human beings in their smallest stages of life. We must never forget that we are part of God's creation and the most beautiful part of it.
By helping us see the beauty of creation, artists can bring us closer to God. It is an important task, one that should not be taken lightly. Our world is starved for beauty, living isolated lives, often enslaved to small cubicles devoid of any beauty. We need to be woken up to the wonders of creation that are in our neighborhood or even outside our city limits. In the process, we can be led back to God, the source of all beauty, truth and goodness.