Pope Warns Against Idolatry of Earthly Beauty, Habits

(photo: CTV)

Pope Francis has warned against idolizing the "beauty of earthly things" as well as "habitual" ways of living, urging instead to gaze upon God “whose glory never fades.”

In his daily homily in his Casa Santa Marta residence today, the Holy Father spoke of the “error” many people make by being “incapable of looking beyond the beauty of earthly things” and failing to look “towards the transcendent.”

Such an attitude is the “idolatry of immanence,” he said, whereby people become captivated by “the power and energy” of these things.

“They haven’t thought about how much greater is their sovereign because He created them, He who is the origin and the author of this beauty,” the Pope said, according to Vatican Radio.

“It’s an idolatry to gaze at all these beautiful things without believing that they will fade away,” he added.

As if to balance his criticism of the idolatry of nature, the Pope also highlighted a second kind committed by those perhaps on the other side of the spectrum: an idolatry of “habit”, that is habitual ways of living “without thinking about the end of this way of living.”

He said Jesus illustrated this when he described the men and woman during the time of Noah or Sodom, who ate and drank and got married without caring about anything else until the flood came or the Lord rained down burning sulphur. 

But the Church, he said, “makes us look at the end of these things,” and urged those present to “direct their gaze always beyond, towards the one God who is beyond ‘the end of created things’ so as not to repeat the fatal error of looking back, as Lot’s wife did.”

“We must be certain,” he stressed, “that if life is beautiful then its end will be just as beautiful as well.”

“We believers are not people who look back, who yield, but people who always go forward,” the Pope said. “We must always go forward in this life, looking at the beautiful things and with the habits that we all have but without deifying them. They will end. Be they these small beauties, which reflect a bigger beauty, our own habits for surviving in the eternal song, contemplating the glory of God.”