In May of 2015, Pope Francis released his Laudato Si encyclical. The name comes from the “Laudato Si, Mi Signore” or Praise be to you, my Lord which Pope Francis took from Saint Francis of Assisi’s beautiful canticle.
In the first paragraph of the encyclical, Pope Francis quotes from Saint Francis:
“Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs.”
But in the second paragraph, Pope Francis continues:
This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22).
Clearly, this is not acceptable to Pope Francis or God.
In this column, my goal is very simple: to share with you key excerpts from this critically important document and to suggest how we can put Laudato Si into concrete achievable actions.
For this first installment, I will leave you with two suggestions:
- Please consider reading Laudato Si. You can download a free copy that the vatican has posted. The easiest way to get your copy is to go to http://laudatosi.com and click on one of the buttons to either read it online, download a PDF, or find a copy you can purchase on smile.amazon.com.
- Consider joining the Saint Francis of Assisi group that meets monthly on the second Monday of each month at the Administration building at 7pm. We will be discussing Laudato Si at our meetings. Our next meeting will be Monday, May 13th. More details on the group can be found at http://saintfrancisseattle.wordpress.com.
Working together, we can help take care of our common home. Paul Litwin