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Bishop Paul Sirba: Where do we find beauty? Take the question to prayer

Aug 7, 2017

“We give thanks to God whose power is revealed in nature and whose providence is revealed in history”
— Liturgy of Hours, Sunday Week III, Evening Prayer II

Summer, in the 10 counties that make up the Diocese of Duluth, reveals the power and beauty of God. Even before God reveals himself to man in words of truth, God reveals “himself to him through the universal language of creation, the work of his Word, of his wisdom: the order and harmony of the cosmos — which both the child and the scientist discover” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2500).

Bishop Paul Sirba
Bishop Paul Sirba
Fiat Voluntas Tua

God, of course, is more beautiful than the sun, the constellation of stars, and the fragrant rose. His majesty and power is greater than the wind, the waves on the lake, or the thunderstorm.

Beauty speaks its own language. A question was recently posed to me by a dear friend, “Where is beauty in your life?” It is a question I pose to you this summer: Where do you find beauty? I think our reflection on beauty could be fruitful meditation in our prayer. God’s beauty brings healing. It was attributed to St. Teresa of Avila, the Carmelite mystic, that she gave advice to a sister who was feeling the blues, to “go take a walk where the sky is big.” Not only can we be enriched by the beauty of the master artist, but because we have been created in the image of God, we can participate in its expression. Maybe we have little artistic ability, but what we have we can give back to God. We can also support the work of artists. “Man also expresses the truth of his relationship with God the Creator by the beauty of his artistic works” (CCC 2501).

Sacred art, in particular, satisfies our longing for beauty. We can be extravagant with beauty in our church buildings and the celebration of the Divine Liturgy because it gives praise and glory to God, who is worthy of the best we have to offer.

The Magnificat monthly magazine is an example of easy accessible beauty. Not only does the Magnificat make the daily scriptures available to us, but also it is filled with writings from the saints, poetry, and beautiful artwork. I find the descriptions of the great works of art and lesser known ones a welcome read. It has become a place where I find beauty at my fingertips. My gratitude to the inspiration of Dominican Father Peter John Cameron and the staff for this publication.

Nature’s beauty is arresting. How blest we are to be able to live where we do! Do take a few minutes to savor the beauty of God’s creation, to respond to the challenge of Pope Francis to be good stewards of our environment, and to praise God for the gift of the beauty of creation.

Bishop Paul Sirba is the ninth bishop of Duluth.