Laudato Si
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Laudato Si Week 1



Laudato Si – Week 1: The Introduction

When one looks at the introduction to Laudato Si (LS), Pope Francis addresses every person on the planet, not just church-going Catholics, or even other Christians or other peoples of good will.  He turns to his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi, and uses terminology the saint used to describe the earth.  St. Francis of Assisi was so comfortable with all of nature, that he called it his family: his sister, his mother.  He tells us the earth is crying out to us because of the harm we have inflicted upon her.


When Plato described whether not we improve the life of a dog or a horse or a man by beating the dog, or horse or man, he concluded we do not make their lives better, but worse, and not only do we harm the creatures, the act of violence bounces back on us.  We harm ourselves every time we inflict violence on another.  We forget that they are part of creation and that reverence is owed all of creation, since it is the work of God.  Our broken nature not only fails to reverence other creatures, we also forget to reverence ourselves.  We too, are from the dust the earth, and from the hand of God


From others in history, we hear similar concerns.  St. John Paul II echoed Jacques Rousseau’s warning: advances in arts and sciences and technology do not necessarily mean moral advances, if fact, often it means the opposite.  Rousseau argued we create a general will, crafted for the common good to solve the problem.  In our case today, St. John Paul II called for a global ecological conversion.  What is the meaning of the earth?  What is the meaning of the human person?  Authentic human development has a moral character.  Pope Benedict XVI says we have this current problem, because we have failed to see anything else besides ourselves.


This is not just about fossil fuel, using better pesticides or how often one can water one’s lawn. . . . see what Laudato Si is really about in the Ghana clip below: 


Ghana clip


Pope Francis quotes Patriarch Bartholomew, when he calls our lack of care for the earth a “sin”, and more recently, Pope Francis has called the care for the earth a new spiritual AND corporal work of mercy.  In this Year of Mercy, he is calling on all of us to have mercy on the earth as our Common Home.


Francis tells us we need to “fall in love” with the earth, for seeing the beauty in nature will point us to the beauty of its Creator.  He urges all of us to seek sustainable and integral development of the earth’s resources and tells us that the young people are demanding it.  New dialogues are needed and while it is now part of our social justice issues and teachings, social justice starts with each of us looking inward to see how we are acting.  We are to look to science in some aspects in order to look beyond the symptoms and find their causes, but always remembering that there is an intimate connection between the poor and the fragility of the planet.


Suggestions:  Perhaps this first week in our study, we should start small.  Why don’t we each look at our own homes?  How are we taking care of the planet inside our homes?  Pick one below.


1. Are we turning off unnecessary electricity when we don’t need it?

2. Are we recycling?  Separating metal and glass and paper and food products?

3. How about outside our homes?  How much money are we spending on landscaping?  Could our landscaping be simpler and the money given to the poor?

4. In New England this summer, we are in a bit of a draught.  We have had very little rain.  Are we conserving water? Or do we find ourselves letting those faucets run or watering our grass, when we should be conserving that precious item?


If you watched the clip above, you can see that water can mean life itself in many parts of the world.  Maybe when we go to bed tonight, we can say a prayer for the people of Ghana.  We are, after all, all one family and this is our Common home! 


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